EDITOR, Daily News:
This week, the Ketchikan City Council and Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly approved legislation to move forward issuing CARES Act funds to six categories. Administrators from said programs will use their database to issue a one-time payment in form of credit on the account. Actual cash to individuals will be at the discretion of nonprofit administrators and existing programs, for example: emergency fund, rent deposits, medical bills, etc.
The borough will have oversight on the seventh category, small business owners, with a $5.4 million budget. It may require more handling of paperwork as applications are vetted and disbursement checks issued directly to owners.
Absent from the categories are individuals who, with limited finances for whatever valid reason, are living paycheck to paycheck with mounting debt. There has been fair warning by our peacekeepers that our residents' mental health and well-being is in jeopardy as the community deals with bankruptcy before facing foreclosures.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall during a discussion about individuals as money managers are hesitant to hand over cash without conditions. With staff and system in place to process the seven categories, what burden is there to 'feed' the eight child from funds that weren't theirs to begin with? Hoarding funds is partly the reason why this community has a homeless population.
To restart an economy, individuals are needed to spend money and regardless of the commodity — food, furniture, credit card debt or alcohol — sales tax is collected. A win-win for everyone. If individuals trusted their vote to be used wisely, then leaders must work with this trust by awarding individuals a lifeline. Accept applications and review their asking price before deciding on full-price request or flat stipend equally paid out.
In my opinion, the council and Assembly must immediately approve Category: Individual, and waste no time with disbursing CARES Act funds to them.
BILL J. SNIDER