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Commissioners continue to allocate CARES Act funding

The Warren County Commissioners continue to spend down the county’s CARES Act allocation.

Federal guidelines require that the county spend or allocate the money by the end of the year and the commissioners will still have funds to spend next month.

During Wednesday’s meeting, one expenditure was announced while another was approved.

An IT request was announced.

“As we saw COVID numbers climb, the bulk of that IT request had to do with laptops,” Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said, explaining the purchase was approved under the county’s COVID-19 emergenc declaration as the county expects to be increasing telework.

The commissioners approved a request from three volunteer departments that have been working together — Clarendon, Cherry Grove and Sheffield — for a “fly car” pilot.

“They are exploring the possibility of essentially hiring EmergyCare to provide an EMT on call that can come and complete their crew,” Kafferlin said.

A “fly car” is in essence a vehicle that can’t transport patients but can get a responder to the scene to assess whether a full ambulance response is needed. Given the expensive nature of running an ambulance, “fly cars” can be a means of providing both quicker and potentially cheaper service.

Kafferlin said the total requested amount for a pilot program was $120,000 but said the county had agreed to provide $15,000 in CARES Act funding, similar to what was offered to the City of Warren for its pilot agreement with Pleasant Twp.

He said the commissioners had set aside $200,000 of the county’s $3.5 million in CARES Act funding for EMS but said enough applications to utilize that amount weren’t received.

Several other CARES Act requests were tabled on Wednesday, including requests from the DAV and Youngsville Borough.

A request for $4,000 for the sound system in the main courtroom was also tabled.

Kafferlin said he’s work on that proposal, indicating that “it makes sense” but he isn’t sure it’s the highest priority.

“I think that as the belt tightens on the CARES money,” Commissioner Jeff Egglston said, the commissioners need to put effort into “prioritizing things… especially since we’ve found out the state has gobbled up all the surplus. I think that between now and the next meeting… we should just buckle down and iron out the final number we have available at all” before coming to final conclusions.

Law subscriptions to bring $300,000 10 year savings

The commissioners also signed off on an agreement that will lock in the county’s subscriptions of court-related law books for the next 10 years.

“(It) sounds like a huge win,” Kafferlin said, indicating it will save $300,000 over 10 years per the county’s fiscal office.

“I think it was a very good move by the Fiscal Department to consolidate this stuff,” Eggleston said.

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