COVENTRY – Coventry City Council recently approved the use of federal COVID-19 relief funds to reimburse local food establishments for two years of food service license fees.
The US bailout fund consists of federal grants given to the city during the pandemic. The fund totals over $ 3 million, of which approximately $ 2.8 million has yet to be spent.
City Councilor Matthew O’Brien Sr. has offered to reimburse licensing fees to restaurants and eateries in the city, citing the financial hardships they face during the pandemic.
âMy intention was to give them a little relief,â said O’Brien.
Chief Executive John Elsesser said the reimbursement is “an acknowledgment that they have had to reconfigure their businesses” during the ongoing pandemic and that many have been forced to scale back their operations.
The total amount of federal funds to be used is just under $ 13,000 and will affect 21 restaurants.
Elsesser said city council has other ideas for the rest of the funds which will be discussed in the coming months.
“The biggest sum of money will go to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in schools” in the upper grades, he said, adding that up to half of the funds could be used for this project. .
Elsesser said the state will not fund a new HVAC system at the middle and high school complex through other education department grants or bonding programs.
He also said the city council was considering donating funds to arts and culture establishments affected by the pandemic and would likely develop a grant application for this purpose.
Additionally, city council is considering giving COVID relief funds to police and first responders.
âThey were on the front lines of the pandemic,â O’Brien said.
“My intention is that we move quickly on this point,” he added, saying funds for first responders and arts and culture establishments would likely be voted on by the end of October.
The reimbursement of food service licenses is the last use of federal funds approved by the city. City council also approved the use of the funds to purchase an ambulance, hire more police officers and replace the city hall’s HVAC system.
The city’s recreation department has also received relief funds as it was hit hard last year, officials said.
Ben covers Coventry and Tolland for the Inquirer Journal.