CHARLOTTE COUNTY — Lee County staff are going to be busy this weekend processing the more than 15,000 applications for help they've received from both people and businesses.
On Friday morning, Lee County Commission Chair Brian Hamman spoke to reporters.
“The numbers of applications that were put in really highlight the dire financial situation that many Lee County residents now find themselves in," said Hamman.
That assistance is being funded through $135 million it got from the CARES Act, but there are many other counties that still haven’t received any funding at all.
55 counties in Florida still haven’t received money, and that includes Charlotte. Now, commissioners have sent a letter to the Governor, asking for the funding they feel they deserve.
“We’re hurting just as bad as the big counties. We’ve had the same impacts from the virus," said Charlotte County Commissioner Joe Tiseo.
Without any federal help, Charlotte County has used its reserve funding to set up its own online resource, called COAD.
“We’ve had well over 1,500 applications already, and the county, through our reserve funding, funded $250,000 to get that out, to help those people," said Tiseo.
The county is also using the reserve money to fight the virus.
“We’ve also had to retrofit many of our public buildings with COVID-related expenses. To provide screening, plexiglass, additional PPE for all our employees," said Tiseo.
But reserve fund money only goes so far. That’s why Tiseo and his colleagues wrote a letter to the Governor, but Charlotte county still doesn’t meet the population requirement of 500,000 people for the CARES Act.
“Technically, he’s not obligated. Otherwise, he would have funded it already," said Tiseo.
Funded it with the $1.2 billion Tiseo says the Governor still has sitting unused right now. Tiseo said, the Charlotte County Commission, and other localities around the state, are now appealing to the Governor’s conscience.
“We hope the Governor’s taking a look at that seriously, because, at the end of the day, there will come a point where I think the county is going to be in real distress financially," said Tiseo.
Tiseo said, he feels confident that the Governor will work out a deal with the remaining counties, but it’s already been a week, and they haven’t heard anything yet.