Nothing on family and business assistance grants

A week ago, Deputy Administrator Chips Kirschenfeld told the Escambia County Commission that the county would be ready to take applications for family and small business assistance grants on Friday, Sept. 18. Yet, the county has sent out no information on the programs. No documentation of the implementation was made available to the public in the agendas for Sept. 3 or Sept. 8.

Here’s what Kirschenfeld said: “We had a good Zoom meeting with the Neighborly technical people, and we already have draft applications for the Family CARES Act and the Business CARES Assistance, and those should be finalized as early as next week. So the date that we had discussed beginning on Friday, Sept. 18, they’ve said that’s very, very doable.”

How can the public prepare to apply without any details? The commissioners have allocated $3.58 million for each program, and the funds won’t last long.

The application process for housing assistance for homeowners and renters only lasted four days after the county was overwhelmed over 1,000 applications with more than $3.3 million past due bills for the $813,451 made available by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation Coronavirus Relief Funds.

The public knows more about the mosquito spray patrols than these assistance programs.

What we do know is County Administrator Janice Gilley had a complete meltdown after the agenda review last Thursday and stayed away until this week. It appears she is losing the confidence of the commissioners and seems more than a little paranoid, according to the sources in her administration.

As we approach the three-month mark since the Gov. DeSantis announced the CARES Act dollars Escambia County would receive, seven million sits in the county’s coffers. Instead, the funds should be circulating on our local economy helping families and small businesses.