“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 6/11/20
According to the Missoula Current, Montana businesses and others are scratching heads over a curious piece of data—it’s been six weeks since Montana began working to distribute $1.25 billion in federal COVID-19 aid, but only 2.5 percent of the funds ($31.25 million) has been dispersed or approved for dispersal to date. With 9,500 applications awaiting aid approval, there are cries for a faster rate of fulfillment. “I think there is a growing frustration with the slow pace of that,” Brad Griffin of the Montana Restaurant Association told MTN News this week. “It doesn’t do any good to sit in a bank account up in Helena.” Equally, legislators are frustrated. “There are a thousand reasons for not being able to do it more quickly, but the reality is we didn’t do it more quickly, and I find that disappointing for Montana businesses,” state Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, who sat on a council that advised Gov. Steve Bullock how and where to target the money, told the Current. Bullock and his administration have said they are processing applications as quickly as possible in order to be “careful stewards” of taxpayer money.