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Hall County looks to FEMA for help after COVID-19 financial loss

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 12:26 AM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Hall County was once the hardest hit county for COVID-19 in the state of Nebraska. Their finances are now suffering from those rough few months and they’re looking toward the state and federal government for help.

The county is seeking a $200,000 grant to help cover the costs of the pandemic because they say a lot of money went into making their buildings safe.

In the administration building they added windows between workers and the public, arrows on the floor to keep people moving in one direction and a lot of signage to raise awareness on COVID-19. The courthouse also took a lot of money to make safe and the county even rented out another location to help them spread out. They also needed certain materials to sanitize rooms between uses.

Extra money being spent and less money coming in lead to quite a deficit in the budget.

“Car sales are down, which means the taxes are down,” Hall County Chair Pamela Lancaster told Local4 News. “We do receive some of those car taxes. There were other losses of revenue maybe not directly associated with COVID but the farm economy was not doing well and we had that loss of revenue.”

Facilities director Loren Humphrey is working on the grant to help make up that loss in revenue.

“It’s a lot of work to get all of these papers together,” Humphrey said. “We’re dealing with several different departments. We have the Sheriff’s office, the corrections, the IT department, the road department. We have election coming up. There’s cost on that that will go into it. Extra cost that in a normal election year you wouldn’t have.”

Humphrey said he hopes to get it all done by the end of 2020, but that it could carry over to the new year.

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