How Franklin is spending $10.8 million on CARES, funding America’s bailout

Franklin will receive $10.8 million in federal coronavirus relief from the CARES Act and the US bailout.

It is now up to the municipal authorities to allocate this money to municipal services, local organizations and businesses in Franklin. Here’s how the funds have been allocated so far.

CARES Act

Franklin received $1.21 million in CARES Act funding in 2021.

Most of it helped pay police and firefighter salaries totaling $837,192 during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

City employees have received a total of $172,161 in financial assistance to facilitate remote work.

The city spent $125,643 on personal protective equipment such as face masks and another $78,641 on other public health expenses. According to a city report, the city only used $73 of CARES Act funding for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

Mark Russell holds a sign during a candlelight vigil in Franklin's public square on May 4, 2017. The vigil was held to highlight Tennessee residents at risk of losing insurance coverage or facing a rising costs following the vote on the American Health Care Act.

CARES Act Community Development Block Grants

The Community Development Block Grant program is a federal initiative designed to promote viable urban communities by funding housing and other community support organizations.

Franklin received $322,072 in funding from the CARES Act for Community Development Block Grants, which were disbursed to local nonprofits and businesses. The biggest beneficiaries include:

  • Mercy Community Health Care: $48,034
  • Franklin Community Development: $43,000
  • Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency: $40,000
  • Franklin Hair Academy: $35,000
  • Columbia State Community College: $25,000

US Bailout Act

The U.S. bailout will provide a total of $9.25 million to Franklin by the end of May – $1.07 million in funding was spent in April 2022.

Eligible municipal employees, including those who have had to work in person during the pandemic due to the nature of their work (i.e. fire, police, sanitation and other employees), have received premium pay totaling $589,303 across all departments.

The city created a new category of sick days that city employees could use if they were diagnosed with COVID-19. These days were in addition to the city’s standard sick day allotment. The initiative was funded by a US Bailout grant of $268,743.

Franklin has seen its hotel and motel tax revenue, which is typically generated by tourism, reduced during the coronavirus pandemic. The city used $214,286 of its U.S. bailout funding to supplement that revenue loss and complete the purchase of the Spivey land, a historic property preserved as part of a Civil War battlefield.

The majority of funding for Franklin’s US bailout went unallocated. The city must designate uses for the remaining $8,181,508 by the end of 2024 and must spend the money by the end of 2026.

Potential uses include a parking counter system for the city parking decks on 2nd Avenue and 4th Avenue, improvements to the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park, and water and sewer improvements .

Cole Villena covers Williamson County at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today – Tennessee network. Contact Cole at [email protected] or 615-925-0493. Follow Cole on Twitter at @ColeVillena and on Instagram at @CVinTennessee.

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