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County could receive COVID-19 relief funding

Warren County would receive over $3.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funding if a proposal by the state House of Representatives allocating the funds becomes law.

According to a statement from State Senator Michele Brooks, Warren County would receive $3,539,294.44, according to the plan approved on Thursday by the House.

The funding is from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

It can be used by counties, according to a statement from Rep. Martin Causer (R-67), to offset the cost of emergency response, small business assistance, support to local economic development entities, assistance to municipalities for costs related to the pandemic, behavioral health and drug and alcohol abuse treatment, non-profit assistance programs and broadband internet deployment.

“The commissioners anticipated some CARES money, but as the allotment hadn’t been defined, we had no way of knowing what the amount would be,” Warren County Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said. “Therefore, we haven’t yet met to discuss the ramifications. Now, obviously, it will be a point of discussion.”

“This funding is designed to provide maximum flexibility to our counties to mitigate losses and provide resources to help us rebound and move forward in these unprecedented times,” Brooks said in a statement. ”

“Under the parameters of the federal government’s CARES Act, counties with a population of over 500,000 automatically received these federal dollars. The Pennsylvania General Assembly felt it was important that other counties in our Commonwealth be given these dollars as well.”

The county-specific allocation was part of a much broader $2.6 billion allocation plan approved by the House that includes funds for a host of categories. According to State Senator Scott Hutchinson’s office, the largest areas of $692 million to long-term living service providers, $625 million to counties, $260 million for services for the autistic and the intellectually disabled and $225 million in small business funding.

“Our counties have had major impacts and they really have their feet on the ground in localities that know what other entities within their counties, within their communities, need additional help,” State Senator Scott Hutchinson said. “They will be able to distribute funds on a case-by-case basis.”

The Bill, SB 1108, has now been approved without a single dissenting vote by the General Assembly and will go to the governor for consideration.

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