Otter Tail County continues to support individuals, businesses and organizations as they weather the COVID-19 pandemic. The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners agreed to invest the majority of the $7.2 million in CARES Act funding in the county’s Navigating the Road Ahead program.

The Otter Tail County Community Development Agency (CDA) awarded $2.74 million to 200 small businesses and 40 nonprofit organizations through two rounds of the CARES Relief and Recovery Grant Program. Otter Tail Lakes Country Association (OTLCA) awarded more than $400,000 through two grant programs for area business organizations and small businesses. Funding was also provided to OTLCA to promote the resumption of tourism activities in Otter Tail County.

Education and digital access projects were aimed at supporting school districts, distance learning students and dislocated workers searching for jobs. Through a partnership with Lakes Country Service Cooperative, $500,000 in funding was provided to nine school districts. The Viking Library System (VLS) was provided funds to offer the public 100 tech packs — laptop computer, wireless hotspot with a six-month paid subscription for internet access and one year of free technical support. Technology upgrades were made in the four public libraries as well as Battle Lake City Hall and Vergas Event Center. This technology is available to the public.

As an administrator of the state’s CARES Act funded COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), Otter Tail County will distribute nearly $200,000 to assist with unpaid rent or mortgage payments, utility payments and other housing-related expenses.

Emergency response funds were allocated for personal protective equipment, facility enhancements, compliance and oversight, public communications, sanitation and testing. Funding was also provided to United Way to support efforts around preventing food insecurities. To help long-term care providers in their response, the county provided over $235,000 in funding. Additionally, financial support totaling $230,000 was distributed directly to health care providers to support testing and emergency response efforts.

“We appreciate the guidance and expertise of community stakeholders and internal staff to develop and execute the investment of these funds,” shared Board of Commissioners Chair Lee Rogness.  “Our priority is to serve our residents and communities of Otter Tail County in a time of great need.”

With the expiration of CARES Act funds on Dec. 30, 2020, Otter Tail County and community partners will continue to provide information, resources and advocacy as we continue to navigate the road ahead together. For a complete summary of Otter Tail County’s COVID-19 Navigating the Road Ahead programs, please visit ottertailcountymn.us/cares.

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