Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meet on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meet on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough has over $1 million in leftover CARES money

Nearly half of the leftover funds come from CAR13, the project aimed at retrofitting borough facilities.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough has just over $1.1 million in CARES Act funds unexpended as of March 25. In all, the borough itemized 24 projects to be funded using CARES Act money, five of which have funds left over. Those projects include ones dedicated to remote meeting integration, the retrofitting of assembly chambers, the retrofitting of borough facilities, a 911 backup dispatch answering center, among others.

From the State of Alaska, the borough received about $37.5 million in CARES Act funding. The largest chunk — more than $9 million — was allocated to the borough’s incorporated cities. More than $6.5 million was spent on grants to small businesses, nonprofits and senior centers.

Nearly half of the leftover funds come from CAR13, the project aimed at retrofitting borough facilities. Roughly $3 million was approved to install air purification systems in borough facilities and fire stations. As of March 26 only about $2.5 million had been expended. According to a memo from Borough Community and Fiscal Projects Manager Brenda Ahlberg, the purification systems, known as “O2prime” systems, purify air in main building corridors and reduce viral spread, mold spore, odors and airborne particulates.

The borough assembly will consider legislation during their April 6 meeting that would transfer the remaining lapsed funds to project CAR06, titled “Emergency Response, PPE, Personnel.” The transfer will allow the lapsed funds to continue to be used by the borough to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initial deadline by which CARES Act funds needed to be extended was December 2020. However, that deadline was pushed back to the end of 2021 by Congress shortly before the end of 2020.

More information on how the borough has spent their CARES Act funds can be found at cares.kpb.us.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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