MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Auditor Pat Davies reported that the county received $887,262.39 on June 23 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES).

Morrow County Treasurer Michael Goff said the money was from the federal CARES act and sent by the state. The money is placed in a separate fund to be distributed to county departments, townships and villages.

Goff emphasized that the money is to be used specifically for expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic. It cannot go into the County’s General fund and any money that is not used must be returned to the state by the end of 2020.

The 16 townships in the county have been allotted $212,942.97, villages get $141,961.98 and the county is allotted $532,357.43 to be distributed among departments.

In a meeting with commissioners, township and village officials June 22, Davies explained that there are a number of qualifications in order for the village, township and department entities to receive their portion.

To qualify for this CARES relief funding, each jurisdiction needs to pass a resolution and then to complete registration. Davies provided specific directions and guidelines for county and local officials to apply for the funding.

The funds can only be used for expenses due to the Coronavirus public health emergency. A few examples given for what qualifies as Covid-19 expense are: purchasing PPE, sneeze guards, thermometers, technology upgrades to support working from home, technology supporting security, sanitation and sanitation supplies and unbudgeted labor costs in response to Covid-19.

Davis said that some townships or departments may opt to not apply or not be able to use all their allotment. In that case the county can redistribute some funds to those with more Covid-19 expense.

Village and township officials are required to have a separate account for funds they receive. All the grant dollars need separate tracking and receipts need to be kept.

Goff said all expenses need to be documented so that every dollar received and spent is accounted for.

There was some discussion among officials that requirements for using the funds are continually changing. Goff said that it is unfortunate that the CARES funding can’t be used for the county’s lost revenue such as sales tax or gas tax during the stay-at-home order.

Morrow County Commissioner Tom Whiston said he would like to see it gets to the point that the money can be used without all the restraints.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel