County readies CARES application

Fayette County is continuing its efforts to be fully reimbursed for anything related to the coronavirus epidemic.
Bruce DeLashmit of Bellwether, the county’s administrative assistant, told members of the Fayette County Board on Tuesday that the county is eligible for up to $450,000 through the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.
DeLashmit said he has been working with department heads to determine how much the county can be reimbursed for anything it can “show had some relationship to COVID.”
He said that the rules of the act have relaxed since its inception, meaning that more items will be allowed for reimbursement.
“The most important one came out last week, where they said that the county can reclaim all the salary of all of our employees that were on permissive absences,” DeLashmit said.
“Right now, we're at a potential $157,000 in recovery that will be reimbursed for just labor alone,” he said.
Other things that the county will seek reimbursement for include protective barriers in county offices, equipment needed to allow the court system to hold virtual sessions and mailings by the circuit clerk’s office related to rescheduled court hearings.
DeLashmit said they are continuing to search for every possible reimbursement item, and that the current amount to be requested is $330,000.
He said that any of the $450,000 not reimbursed to the county will be reallocated for spending elsewhere.
Also related to COVID-19, the board approved hazard pay for county employees working during the pandemic. Law enforcement employees will receive a one-time stipend of $500, and clerical and courthouse employees are getting a $250 stipend.
Also on Tuesday:
• It was decided to hold a brief special meeting of the board in the near future to approve the transfer of money from the county’s capital improvement fund in order to meet the county’s current obligations.
County Treasurer Michelle Hagy told the board during its finance committee meeting that the county has about $125,000 in bills and a payroll of about $190,00, and that about $100,000 is needed to meet those obligations.
Hagy noted that the board had previously OK’d a $150,000 transfer from the capital improvement fund and that she previously used $100,000.
The remaining $50,000, she said, would be used to meet the current obligations.
• The board did not act on a request from Coroner David Harris to increase the salary of the coroner.
The coroner is currently paid $28,000 for a job that is termed part-time, and Harris is asking that the salary be more in line with other county officers.
“I just think that for so long, they thought this office was a part-time office, and, in fact, by the hours I work, you can see it’s not a part time office – it’s a full time office,” Harris said.
Board member Bryce Kistler spoke out against a salary increase.
“How many years did the last coroner” ask for a pay increase and have those requests turned down, Kistler said.
“Then, we purchased a vehicle to move bodies in,” Kistler said.
“I’m not taking anything away from that position because there’s nobody standing in line to do it,” he said.
Board Chairman Jeff Beckman said, “Number one, we’re not over this (COVID-19 pandemic).
“Times are not good and we do have a contract,” Beckman said.
• Beckman announced that he is asking to have on the September board agenda a resolution that would waive liquor license fees for license holders one quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Kistler recognized Shawn Carter upon his retirement for his 20 years of service as a county deputy and Larry Halleman for more than four years as the sheriff’s chief deputy.
Chris Palmer was appointed chief deputy last month.

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