Commissioners approve Hannibal's reimbursement request

By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Aug. 14, 2020 9:37 am

PALMYRA, Mo. | The city of Hannibal will receive $324,613 in reimbursement through the CARES Act. The city's request was approved by the Marion County Commission during its Monday meeting at the county courthouse in Palmyra.

The money represents a portion of the salaries incurred by the community's front-line police and fire personnel since April 1, 2020.

It was noted by the commissioners that the city's request represented only 25% of the total amount that has been accrued.

While the city of Hannibal's reimbursement request was approved, a funding request from the Hannibal Board of Public Works was not as fortunate. The city's utility was seeking $90,000 in order to set up a utility assistance program that is intended to help individuals who need help paying utility bills.

The HBPW's proposal was tabled until further information can be provided.

The commissioners also considered funding requests from a handful of local school districts. The only request approved Monday came from the Marion County R-II School District. It requested $74,654 to purchase iPads to enable students to work from home. While the request was approved, the school district will not be reimbursed until it has submitted paid invoices to the county commission.

The Hannibal School District sought $519,333 to buy Chromebooks for use by students, particularly those working from home. Eastern District Commissioner Larry Welch said the quote the school district received indicated that the computers will be purchased from Canada. The commission asked that the items be purchased from within the United States. The matter was tabled.

The Palmyra R-I School District submitted a request for $105,477. The commissioners tabled the request until they could be provided more documentation.

The Monroe City R-I School District and Lewis County C-I School District both submitted requests. The commissioners agreed to notify those districts and have them submit their respective requests to the county in which the school buildings are located.

Among the not for profits that requested funds was the Mark Twain HomeFoundation of Hannibal which was seeking $70,000. Because the bulk of the funds sought were for the payroll of employees, which is not eligible, the commissioners approved $9,063 that was eligible.

Harla Friesz, the Marion County recorder, submitted a quote of $2,073 for a laptop computer that would enable her to work from home during the coronavirus threat. The request was approved.

Sam Diffenderfer of the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments recommended that the county and cities in the county submit for reimbursement of wages and benefits of all front-line workers. He also encouraged those entities to apply for 100% of those expenses.

Although the CARES Act allows for reimbursement of front-line workers' pay and benefits beginning March 1, 2020, Karen Burditt, Hannibal's director of finance, used April 1, 2020, as the starting date. Despite using the later starting date the amount of compensation came to almost $1.2 million.

Burditt then calculated just the actual regular pay of front-line workers. That amount came to $649,226. City staff, with the blessing of the city council, submitted a request of just half that amount.





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