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C.A.R.E.S. Act Funding Coming Along Slowly

While state-level politicians have concerns over how funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act is being disbursed, a Marshall County official said the funding is being distributed somewhat slowly, but it’s coming.

Marshall County Administrator Betsy Frohnapfel said the county has been submitting monthly reports to the state since March. Funds from the March request have already been disbursed to the county, and the April and May reports are under review.

“They’re reviewing them,” Frohnapfel said. “We get calls to clarify and to get additional information. Nothing I’ve seen is out of the ordinary. It’s a very large undertaking for cities and municipalities. Marshall County is pretty big, but here in the county commission office, we have three people — one oversees buildings and grounds, and the other two are administrative. It gets cumbersome, but we’re working through it.”

Last week, Gov. Jim Justice revealed his plan to distribute the $1.25 billion in federal funding statewide. $200 million of that funding will be disbursed to local governments to reimburse COVID-19-related expenses.

Frohnapfel said the county has kept track of the money spent through invoices, while also monitoring county employees who still collect a paycheck and benefits if kept home for COVID-related reasons. She said the notable COVID expenses in the county have been things such as personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers and masks, and ionizers for buildings. Additionally, county agencies have taken the opportunity to upgrade from free software to premium or full versions, where possible. Additionally, two employees have had extended medical leave covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as payment of overtime for custodians who work long hours sanitizing public facilities.

“Any of our employees who’ve been quarantine, we submit for their salary and benefits,” she said. “The rules, the requirements, the things you’re able to request reimbursement for, have continued to change … since March.”

In April, Marshall County had also received $100,000 in grant funding from the state in an unrelated initiative.

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