MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Auditor Pat Davies and County Commissioners were very appreciative of the assistance the county received from the disbursement of funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“The CARES Act allowed our county to fund our response to the pandemic in three areas: employee protection, facility improvements and remote work modernization,” Davies said.
Some specific examples of the use of CARES money Davies gave are: purchasing remote work equipment, providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE,) cleaning supplies, and funding increased personnel costs for cleaning and sanitizing public buildings, updating public buildings ventilation systems and air filtration systems.
Costs in the county corrections facility were funded to allow for social distancing and sanitary conditions, barriers were installed and improved, work areas were set up for essential public employees to ensure proper sneeze protection, social distancing and precaution signage. Thermal scanning equipment at public building entrances was also purchased.
Bennington Township Fiscal Officer Jill Hunter was pleased that the township received funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund through the CARES Act. Hunter said the township transferred the total they received to the Highland School District and Big Walnut Fire Department.
Hunter said the district was able to purchase much needed Chromebooks for all the students so they were able to use them for their at-home classes. Highland has had hybrid learning with days in person and days with virtual learning since school began in September.
Bennington was one of six townships in Morrow County to apply for and receive the coronavirus relief funds. The six townships received a total of $1,126,860.78. Townships receiving funding were: Bennington, Chester, Congress, Harmony, Peru and Westfield.
In addition, villages that applied and received funds were: Chesterville, Marengo and Mount Gilead. The total received by villages is $465,106.61.
Davies said that without this money the county would have had a cash flow problem and potentially a significant deficit in the General Government and Outside Housing funds.
Commissioner Tom Whiston said that one of the biggest benefits for the county was in keeping all employees.
“We were able to continue with all county services and didn’t have to lay off employees,” Whiston said.
“The county would be in dire straits without the funds,” Commissioner Warren Davis added.
Davies said that some areas of the county government were prioritized after county officials met. The most county funding was received by law enforcement, the Sheriff’s department, corrections, courts, and county prosecutor’s office, all for support of public justice.
The next general county government priority was in funding county services and modernizing to cope with the pandemic requirements. An example Davies gave was that public recorded documents were scanned to allow online access to the County Recorder’s indexes. Also all of the Auditor’s employees worked remotely with updated equipment, systems and access and all essential workers were retained, funded and protected.
“These were unprecedented times that took all elected officials and county employees working with total cooperation and positive communication to work together for the people of Morrow County,” Davies said.