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Second round of CRF money gains approval

WINTON – Hertford County towns submitting a second request for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, And Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding have been approved to gain a share of that federal money.

As part of the CARES Act, each state received funding to cover COVID-19 expenses for the public health emergency.

In turn, each state expended a portion of that funding to aid their counties. North Carolina was awarded a shade over $4 billion from the CARES Act and allocated money – established as the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) – to each county based on population.

Hertford County received two disbursements of CARES Act funding. The first allocation came in late May in the amount of $635,233 and the second arriving in July for $459,522. Twenty-five percent ($273,689) of that total amount was earmarked for the county’s municipalities. Officials with each incorporated town in the county were contacted regarding the availability of the funds and were asked to submit a requested amount and to document how that money would be expended.

The first disbursement ($162,982.32) to the municipalities was approved by the Hertford County Commissioners at their meeting on Sept. 8. Of that amount, Ahoskie was awarded $94,000; Cofield gained $10,880.32; Harrellsville was approved for $9,552; Murfreesboro received $45,000; and Winton got $3,460.

Como did not submit a request for CRF money.

That left $110,796.68 for a second round of funding. At the direction of the commissioners, County Manager David Cotton was asked to solicit additional requests from the local towns.

At their meeting on Nov. 16, Cotton informed the board of the following requests from the towns in regards to the second round of funding:

Ahoskie: $82,450.75 to cover hazardous duty pay for its front line employees during the COVID-19 crisis as well as to purchase a trailer mounted wood chipper;

Cofield: $9,648.77 for hazardous duty pay and for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and disinfectant supplies;

Como: No request for funds;

Harrellsville: No request for funds;

Murfreesboro: $27,000 for hazardous duty pay and a trailer mounted message display; and

Winton: $8,450 for laptops and disinfectant supplies.

Cotton told the commissioners that the amount requested for the CRF’s second round exceeded the available amount by $16,752.84.

The manager suggested devising a formula (based on population) to appropriate the available funding, but the discussion about what to do with the overage centered more on Ahoskie’s request for a wood chipper, priced at $27,000. Commissioner Leroy Douglas questioned that request, saying it did not appear to be an eligible, COVID-19 related expense.

After additional discussion, the board approved the full amount of the funding requests made by Cofield, Murfreesboro, and Winton. As for Ahoskie’s request, that amount was lowered and approved at $65,697.91.

The county manager added that all CFR money is required to be expended by Dec. 31.

According to state guidelines, CRF money may be used for medical needs including the COVID-19 related expenses of public hospitals and clinics, including testing; public health expenses, such as personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, as well as the cost of cleaning public areas and facilities such as nursing homes; payroll expenses for public safety or healthcare employees dedicated to responding to the COVID-19 emergency; and expenses to comply with public health measures, including teleworking, distance learning, food delivery, paid leave for public employees, expenses for maintaining prisons, and protecting the homeless population.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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