The city of Seymour wants its businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic first in line when Webster County distributes its $4.6 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (C.A.R.E.S.) Act funding.

To that end, the city, led in the effort by Terry Penner, its C.A.R.E.S. Act funding administrator, has made repeated requests to county officials to change and modify its official application for the federal aid to make it easier to understand and more applicant friendly.

Last Monday, June 15, the city made its first contact with county officials — including Southern District Commissioner Randy Owens, Webster County Treasurer Todd Hungerford and Sigel Owen, the county’s administrator of C.A.R.E.S. Act funds — explaining issues that the city, specifically Penner, had with the county’s 18-page application.

That conversation continued this past Monday. Penner spoke directly with Owen.

“He said the county currently is in the process of revamping its 18-page application,” Penner noted. “I think that the goal is to make it much smaller, hopefully mirroring ones given in other counties of our size, which often are only a few pages.”

She added that Owen told her that Webster County officials recently had spoken with officials from the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office in Jefferson City, who gave the county additional guidance.

“(County officials) also spoke with the C.A.R.E.S. Act coordinator in Lafayette County in (the county seat of) Odessa, who told them about the process there,” Penner explained. “In Lafayette County, as of earlier this month, they had already given more than $182,000 in C.A.R.E.S. Act funding to businesses and other groups, including a sheltered workshop and the local school.”

Penner said that she is optimistic the county soon will have a new application available.

“Here at the city, we’re just not comfortable handing out the 18-page application ... especially when it appears that it soon will be replaced by a new one,” she said.

Until then, she remains on duty, with her current hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Monday in council chambers at Seymour City Hall on the northwest corner of the square.

She also can be reached any time via cell phone to make an appointment at 417-425-9589.

“People can come to city hall on Mondays, or I can come see them at their businesses,” Penner concluded.

“We’re trying to make this process as friendly as possible.”

The hope is that by next Monday, she’ll have a brand-new C.A.R.E.S. Act assistance application.

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