County Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh calls into Mind and Soul in the Morning and talks to Buddi3 Da Gawd about what is going on with the remaining millions in CARES ACT funds. Outside consultants and Omaha bureaucracy are holding up help for community members in need of assistance.
“I want everybody who is in need, and I think there are thousands in our community, to get the help they need as soon as possible,” said County Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh in an interview on Nov. 20 with Mind and Soul in the Morning.
Cavanaugh and his constituents are facing a tight deadline to allocate 10 million dollars in CARES Act funds before Dec. 31. Instead of returning unused funds, Cavanaugh hopes they will be moved into the Douglas County general fund to be allocated to individuals and small businesses in the new year. The commissioner is hopeful the Biden administration will continue unemployment and aid packages in 2021.
“It bothers me that the consultants get paid no questions asked for giving us an opinion that I don’t think we really need,” said Cavanaugh, “But when it comes to getting regular folks the help they need to get through this tough time, oh my gosh, we’ve got to jump through ten hoops, bring five pieces of ID, get a note from your teacher and everything else.”
Cavanaugh estimated that the county has spent over $5 million on consultants despite having 2,000 employees on staff for the county he believes could have handled the work required by the program.
“Hopefully in the new year we can revisit that issue and maybe take some of that $5 million and apply it to people who in the middle of winter are really going to need that help,” said Cavanaugh.
Cavanaugh urges people who are waiting on rental and utility assistance to call the Douglas County general assistance office at 402-444-7232 for guidance on the application process or visit https://www.douglascounty-ne.gov.