County council discusses spending on pandemic

Pulaski County Council members questioned what they advertised to spend although discussion has previously occurred.
During a regular meeting on Feb. 8, the council discussed advertised appropriations in the amount of $1,072,332.19. The appropriations were for $184,759.19 CARES Act funds, $839,750 professional services economic development and $47,823 from the riverboat fund for COVID-19 related costs.
Councilwoman Kathi Thompson questioned the appropriation of $47,823 from the riverboat fund for COVID-19 related costs. 
Auditor Laura Wheeler clarified that the CARES funding paid for public safety wages. 
She also clarified that the $100,000 the incident management team was allotted helped pay for the overtime due to COVID-19 and hazard pay or about $49,000. About $3,000 was spent on personal protective equipment. The incident management team would like the remainder of the $100,000 to use this year on expenses. 
Wheeler said the hope is that if the county uses all of  the $100,000 that was alloted that the county will receive about 75% of it back from FEMA. 
Council president Ken Boswell said the money can only be spent on personal protective equipment and wages. Boswell suggested the $47,000 be left and $40,000 be allocated to hazard pay and the other $7,000 be used for PPE. His idea is that the $40,000 wouldn’t be spent unless there is hazard pay and it is approved by the commissioners. 
DeSabatine made a motion to put $37,823 in hazard pay and $10,000 for use of the incident management team. The motion was then passed without opposition. 
Councilman Tim Overmyer asked about the CARES Act funds in regards to the new phone system, new servers, and PPE and supplies for the library. He voiced his concern that a large amount of money is being spent on something that will only affect about 3,000 people. “The rest of this is being spent on the county and that is why I’m saying what I’m saying.” 
DeSabatine questioned why money is being given to the library when the library is going through a renovation.  
It was clarified that the CARES Act funding projects were approved by the commissioners. 
The CARES Act funding was approved.

See the full story in the Pulaski County Journal, available in print and online for digital subscribers.

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