BY KARISSA MILLER
More relief is coming to help Iredell County residents and public health response efforts related to COVID-19.
Iredell County commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to accept $3.2 million in Coronavirus Relief Funding (CRF) during a budget work session.
The funds will be distributed to the states from the federal government and then passed on down to the counties.
County Manager Beth Jones said that these funds cannot be used to supplant lost revenues, such as a decline in local sales tax receipts caused by business closures during the pandemic.
“We are going to have ongoing expenses with COVID-19. It can be spent on response efforts,” Jones said.
The governor has provided guidance on how the funds can be used.
Deputy County Manager Susan Robertson explained how the county plans to use its CRF allocation.
The county will allocate approximately $1.030 million off the top to the Health Department, EMS and jail to fund ongoing response efforts. This will allow them to purchase personal protective equipment, testing kits and other items.
Funds can also go towards payroll expenses for public safety, public health and similar employees whose services are dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Grants to Municipalities
Local government will each receive appropriations. The distribution is based on sales tax allocation, which is population based.
♦ Iredell County: $1,388,557
♦ Mooresville: $319,870
♦ Statesville: $200,257
♦ Troutman: $21,632
♦ Harmony: $4,272
♦ Love Valley: $954
United Way of Iredell County will receive $100,000 to make grants to individuals in the community that need help with medical bills, food and rent.
Fifth Street Ministries, which works directly with the homeless population, will receive $50,000.
Volunteer fire departments and rescue squads will receive $92,500.
The plan, which is due June 1, must detail how the county spend those funds. Robertson said that the county has to plan for all of the money, but the categories can change.
Chairman James Mallory said that the county needs to be able to respond without having to rely on the state for relief.
“We need to have sufficient PPE and ventilators and whatever is required. So that — when we start to see outbreaks, we can respond full force … that’s got to be the top priority,” Mallory said.
Commissioner Ken Robertson made it clear that the commissioners aren’t paying for PPE for doctor’s offices or hospitals. Test kits cost around $120 each, he said, and that if there is an outbreak in a nursing home and all the residents and providers have to be tested it could be very costly.