The Geary County Commission discussed SPARK funds and its fleet of vehicles at its Monday meeting.

Commissioner Brad Scholz spoke about the SPARK funding, money specifically to help communities deal with COVID-19 of which the county has received about $6.3 million.

“As of today, out of that $6.3 million, we have four to two different governmental entities, municipalities, rural water districts, so on and so forth, $1.8 million so far,” he said. “We’re right on track. We’re going to be cutting more checks the first of next week and the goal is to have right around a little over $1 million going into December and have that all gone by mid-December so we meet that Dec. 31 deadline.”

Scholz said there are SPARK funds available specifically for businesses that have incurred hard costs due to COVID-19.

“We’re still wanting businesses to apply for SPARK monies,” he said. “Out of the $50,000, $21,157.86 has gone to businesses so far. So there’s still another $28,000 and change.”

The grants are limited to a total of $3,000 per business, “but at least it’s something,” Scholz said.

Businesses will need to provide receipts they have not used to apply for other federal monies in order to receive funds, which are available through the Economic Development Commission.

“Please get a hold of the EDC so you can get some money,” he said, addressing business owners who qualify for the grants. “Because we set that aside just for the businesses in Junction and Geary County.”

The county also voted in favor of leasing some of its fleet of vehicles.

According to Commission Chair Keith Ascher, the practice could potentially save the county money. He said Unified School District 475 has a similar practice.

According to Ascher, vehicles will be leased for the Geary County Appraiser’s Office and the Geary County Health Department.

“We can opt out in a year if we don’t like it,” Ascher said.

Geary County Appraiser Travis Lilly presented to the county commission about the possibility of leasing vehicles from Enterprise at the Monday meeting. There is a fleet management program, according to Lilly, that is specifically offered to government entities, school districts and municipalities where they can take part in an equity lease program specifically for vehicles in their fleets.

With this program comes quarterly analysis including data that is expected to help the commission determine if its fleet of vehicles is the right size and if they vehicles they’re using fit the county’s needs.

According to information provided by the county commission, “Enterprise will make vehicle offloading recommendations that allow the county to optimize vehicle equity with those monies returned to the county. Through its market analysis, Enterprise will advise the county when to re-sell vehicles to optimize return on investment. The purpose of this type of arrangement is to leverage the purchasing and selling power of Enterprise to minimize county operational costs. The business model demonstrates net savings in operational expenses over time with warrantied, fuel-efficient and safer vehicles. If savings are not achieved, the decision can be reversed."

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