The Polk County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to approve a plan constructed by Polk County Administration Chuck Whiting to disperse $2 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to organizations and businesses across Polk County. 

Polk County Commissioner Gary Willhite said the County wanted to get that money out as soon as possible. “Our concern was to get those dollars that were allocated out to the public as quickly as possible,” said Willhite. “Our administrator, Chuck Whiting, spent a lot of time working on how we could make that happen. We’re going to get that $2 million out into the County divided between cities, schools, and different agencies. It will be good.”

The $2 million is split into three categories – Public Health Partnerships, Polk County Partnerships, and Small Business Relief – with another $2 million used to recover Polk County expenses related to COVID-19. 

Just under $800,000 will be used for small business relief with the County’s three largest cities helping to get those funds to small businesses explained Whiting. “We’re putting aside a good chunk, about $775,000, for small business relief,” said Whiting. “Working with the Cities of East Grand Forks, Crookston, and Fosston that have staff that deals with their own business communities and leaving some money for businesses outside of those communities. They’ve been great to be talking to. They understand the urgency in this, and hopefully, we can get some relief out to our business community.”

City of Crookston  $250,000
City of East Grand Forks  $250,000
City of Fosston  $150,000
Rest of County’s cities & townships  $125,000


Another $775,000 will be used to assist agencies that work with Public Health to provide services in Polk County.  Those partners could also distribute money to other organizations within the County they work with to meet their mission.  Whiting said the agencies receiving money are partners with Public Health is serving people that have a higher level of impact from COVID-19. “A good chunk is going to the community partners that we have through Public Health,” said Whiting. “Kind of these quasi-non-governmental agencies that assist the county in our Public Health needs serving people that probably have a higher level of impact from the COVID.”

School Districts & Private Schools $250,000
Northwestern Mental Health $75,000
New American Integration Center $10,000
North Country Food Bank $100,000
Tri-Valley Opportunity Council $100,000
Inter-County Nursing $70,000
Migrant Health Servies $10,000
Crookston Care and Share $10,000
Long-term care facilities in the County (12) $120,000
University of Minnesota-Crookston $15,000
Northland Community & Technical College $15,000

Both Public and Private schools received funding through the CARES Act. However, Whiting said Public Health would work with the schools to cover COVID-19 expenses their funding didn’t include. “Public Health works a lot with the schools, nursing, and so forth,” said Whiting. “They will be the ones in contact with the schools. We’re viewing it as these are the expenses not covered by the CARES monies the schools are receiving directly.  Working out those details to make sure we’re not doubling up, and those dollars go as far as they can.”

The final category receiving money from the County is Polk County Partnerships.  These are partners with Social Services or multi-government organizations such as Tri-County Corrections that didn’t receive direct CARES Act funds explained Whiting. “We have a number of partners we deal with that don’t go through Public Health but might be more through Social Services including the DACs, the ODCs,” said Whiting. “And we’ve got a couple of governmental type units. We’ve got the Tri-County Corrections, which has had to make several adjustments. That’s a Joint Powers with Polk, Red Lake, and Norman Counties. They don’t get any CARES money, so each of the counties will be getting something to them.”

Tri-County Community Corrections $100,000
East Polk Soil Water Conservation District $10,000
West Polk Soil Water Conservation District $10,000
Polk County HRA $140,000
Polk County Development Achievement Center (DAC) $100,000
Fosston DAC $25,000
Occupational Development Center (ODC) $25,000
Social Services Elderly Home Care (2 vendors) $40,000


The remaining $2 million received by Polk County will be used to cover expenses withing county operations. Whiting said those expenses would quickly exceed the $2 million left for the County. “What I’ve just outlined is about half of what the county is getting,” said Whiting. “The other half will go toward the County’s own COVID-19 related expenses. With the criteria we’ve been given as to how to be able to use it, we’ll easily exceed internal expenses of $2 million. I think the board felt pretty good about it last week, and the resolution today gets us moving.  In the next two-to-three weeks, we’ll work on getting the funds out and used.”