Middletown approves CARES Act funding plan: How it will spend federal dollars

Middletown City Council Tuesday approved a plan to utilize federal CARES Act funding to cover coronavirus COVID-19 related expenses. FILE PHOTO Middletown officials are developing a plan to close off the front drive to vehicles at the Middletown City Building in an effort to increase security. The City Building houses Middletown’s city administrative offices, the Municipal Court, and the Middletown City Schools administrative offices. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Middletown City Council has unanimously approved amending its 2020 Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan to include the allocation of federal COVID-19 funding through the CARES Act.

The latest U.S. Census data indicates that Middletown qualifies as a low- to moderate-income area on a citywide basis, about 56.54% of total households, according to plan documents.

Susan Cohen, city administrative services director, said the city would use the additional allocation on:

  • Assisting families with rent and mortgage payments, specifically those who have experienced job loss due to COVID-19, with $175,000.
  • Small business assistance grants for up to five small businesses with eligible expenses to offset the impact of COVID-19, with $175,000
  • Providing a $50,000 allocation for the Middletown City Schools initiative to provide hot spots for about 150 low- to moderate-income families who lack access to technology and internet for K-12 students in the COVID school environment of remote learning.
  • Administrative costs for the additional programs of $31,289.

Cohen said the city would partner with nonprofits such as Supports to Encourage Low-income Families (SELF) and Butler County Neighborhood Housing Services to vet the eligibility of applicants.

In other business, council:

Approved a $2,850 small business economic development grant for Annie Up Boutique, 1391 Central Ave. for an illuminated outdoor sign. The new store opened July 13 and specializes in biker apparel and parts.

Appointed Mayor Nicole Condrey as the council representative to the Citizens Advisory Board to the Police.

Heard an update on the demolition of the former Lincoln School on Central Avenue. City Manager Jim Palenick said there would be an “expedited priority effort” in the next 60 days for demolition.

Confirmed the appointments of Aaron Adkins as a patrol officer with Division of Police; Christopher Arias and Chris Schwitalski as water reclamation operators with the Public Works & Utilities Department; and the promotional appointment of Kayla Carle to the position of executive account clerk in the Finance Department.

Heard an update from Council Clerk Amy Schenck on the progress of the 2020 Census in Middletown. She said census workers are visiting homes that have not responded. According to the Census website as of Sept. 11, the city has an overall self-reporting rate of 64.2%. The count ends on Sept. 30.

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