Wood County Commission and West Virginia Officials Discuss COVID Relief Funds | News, Sports, Jobs

Anthony Woods, deputy state auditor, and Patsy Trecost, special projects manager at the state auditor’s office, appeared before the Wood County commission on Monday to discuss how the county is handling requests of federal funds via the American bailout plan (ARP). (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG – There are still a number of challenges for many across the state in dealing with federal clawback money and what it can be spent on.

Representatives from the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office appeared before the Wood County Commission on Monday to discuss the allocation and spending of federal money under the US bailout (ARP) .

“We got a lot of calls from people trying to figure out what to do with it.” said Anthony Woods, deputy state auditor. “The advice is broad and there are a million things that can be done with it. “

New rules being considered in Congress would expand the use of money where cities and counties can use a fixed amount for income replacement without having to go through a detailed formula to determine as well as expand the use of the money. money to help with disaster relief.

Commissioner Jimmy Colombo asked if more strings are going to be pulled to help some of the smaller counties in the state use this money effectively.

The committee had a new chamber seat on Monday. Officials said it was from a local resident who believed it was originally from the Wood County Courthouse, possibly one of the old courtrooms. The resident restored it and donated it to the county. Officials will look for a permanent place to put it in the courthouse. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

“I think the federal government is going to be very broad when it examines these projects”, Woods said, adding that government entities will need to include narratives on why certain projects were chosen.

Many projects are under consideration due to the impact of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.

“We encourage people to have this COVID tie”, Woods said.

The commission is meeting with a law firm, Lewis Glasser PLLC, to review the proposed projects to ensure they meet the necessary requirements for funds.

The county is in the process of creating an information binder and if federal officials ever wanted to come and check on funds, they would be ready, Commission Chairman Blair Couch said.

Couch said officials see it as a transformative fund for projects that will have lasting effects over the next 20 to 100 years.

“We want to see transformative projects”, he said.

Commissioner Robert Tebay said a lingering question was whether counties should pay part of the funds for broadband expansion across the state.

Woods said they got a lot of questions about it. The state has set aside about $ 90 million of the state’s $ 1.3 billion allocation to be spent on broadband development.

“We told people to contact the state to see what their plan is and not to have a lot of duplication of effort,” he said.

Couch said some areas still have needed water projects they want to complete, which would prioritize broadband expansion for some.

Tebay said the inflation is such that the price of many projects will increase dramatically.

Woods said that with so many agencies and entities vying for supplies and labor, there would likely be shortages.

Patsy Trecost, head of special projects at the state auditor’s office, said some projects should be done through a levy system where expenses are approved before money is released to them.

Groups should include invoices and show expense documents.

Woods said they were trying to keep everything.

“We try to follow everyone and make sure everyone is okay and try to learn as much as possible about it,” he said.

In other cases:

∫ John Apgar of the Ohio Valley Rowing Club appeared before the commission to seek financial assistance for the construction of a new roof on their building at the old water treatment plant near the Ohio River near Memorial Bridge .

“We are in trouble” he said.

The roof was damaged in the 2012 derecho and they were able to make some repairs as well as $ 500,000 in repairs to the building itself over the years.

Local schools have helped maintain the building and have been gone about 14 months. They were also unable to fundraise. The building is 100 years old. They had an estimate of around $ 80,000 for repairs before the pandemic hit.

The commissioners asked him for a formal proposal on what they would like to do, including a dollar amount and estimates for the work. The county would have him reviewed and see if he could qualify for salvage funds.

Brett Dunlap can be contacted at [email protected]

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