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Clarinda receives state CARES Act grant, extra sales tax revenue
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Clarinda receives state CARES Act grant, extra sales tax revenue

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HJ - Standard 600 Council

Clarinda will be receiving additional revenue from two important sources this year.

Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon informed the City Council Nov. 11 the city has been approved for a CARES Act grant to assist with expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Clarinda received more revenue from the local option sales tax than the city was originally projecting.

“The last couple of days I got some good news. I did get an email from the state saying that we did get approval for the CARES Act grant. We don’t have the money in the bank yet, but I got the letter saying they approved $127,531,” McClarnon said.

“Initially, Clarinda did not qualify for reimbursement from the Iowa COVID-19 Government Relief Fund. However, during the Sept. 23 meeting of the Clarinda City Council, McClarnon said he had been notified by the Iowa League of Cities that the regulations had changed and Clarinda now was eligible to apply for a CARES Act grant.

“They are assuming that 25% of your public safety dollars would be COVID related. So I had to go through a lot of payroll records, get copies of everything and then I had to fill out a special spreadsheet that the state provided,” McClarnon said during the Sept. 23 meeting.

With the assistance of Diane Stanton, McClarnon compiled 67 pages of documentation that was included in the application.

“If we get approved for that and get that money, that would definitely help us out per at least getting some of our money back for COVID related pandemic (expenses),” McClarnon said at the Sept. 23 meeting.

The other good news shared by McClarnon Wednesday night involved the local option sales tax. McClarnon said the city receives an estimated payment from the state each month and then in November the payments are balanced to reflect the total revenue the city received.

“In November every year they true that up. So, in other words, if they have given you more than what you should, then you get a negative number which they take away from you over the 12 months after that. If they have paid you less than what they should have, they give you that lump sum amount in November,” McClarnon said.

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McClarnon said Clarinda received a lump sum payment of $180,815 in added revenue from the Local Option Sales Tax.

Earlier in the meeting, the council approved a resolution for the issuance of $9.5 million in revenue bonds through the United States Department of Agriculture for the expansion project at Clarinda Regional Health Center.

“I did talk to the USDA and they assured us again, with everything that’s going on, if something would happen, which I’m not saying it will, tax dollars would not be used to pay any of the debt payments,” McClarnon said.

“I think that’s good information to pass along to the taxpayers. Even though we’re approving this, the citizens can’t be held liable,” council member Jeff McCall said.

Also Wednesday, the council approved the Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Financial Report for the city. The report is submitted to the state and covers the complete financial position of the city including preliminary finances for Clarinda Regional Health Center.

As a result, Clarinda reported total revenues as of June 30 as $53,049,523 compared to total expenses of $48,021,142. This left Clarinda with a total ending fund balance of $13,408,552.

“Obviously, the hospital numbers really skew ours,” McClarnon said.

McClarnon said taking out the hospital finances, along with the water and sewer funds, provides a better picture of the governmental budget for the city. Using those figures, he said Clarinda had approximately $6.9 million of revenue and expenses of $5.6 million.

In other business, the council approved a pay request in the amount of $494,114.29 from Building Crafts, Inc. for the improvement project at the Clarinda Wastewater Treatment Facility. McClarnon said the pay request was for concrete work done at the facility and the project is on schedule.

The council also changed the date of its next meeting from Nov. 25 to Nov. 23 if necessary, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

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