County receives more federal funding for COVID relief

Published 11:31 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2020

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The county’s share in federal funding for COVID-19 response has increased from $1,014,608 to $1,926,664, with a requirement that 25% of the money is shared with local municipalities.

According to Beaufort County Manager Brian Alligood, 25% of the total appropriation passed down from the state is $481,666, which is being split on a per capita basis with the county’s municipalities.

Beaufort County’s seven municipalities will receive the following funding based on the 2019 census:

  • Aurora, population 510, $18,196;
  • Bath, population 241, $8,598;
  • Belhaven, population 1,579, $56,336;
  • Chocowinity, population 788, $28,114;
  • Pantego, population 176, $6,279;
  • Washington, population 9,497, $338,836;
  • Washington Park, population 428, $15,270.

A base allocation of $250,000 will be set aside for use by the county, along with an additional $1,205,033, which is the allocation based on the 33,775 residents living in unincorporated areas of the county.

Rather than passing out the funds to each municipality, the county is providing money on a reimbursement basis, to ensure it’s being spent appropriately. If it is not spent on response outlined by the North Carolina Pandemic Relief Office, the funds can be clawed back, which is what the county wants to avoid.

“The county is ultimately responsible for the way those funds are spent,” Alligood said.

Beaufort County’s share of the relief funds will be spent on reimbursing the county for the salaries of county employees involved in the COVID-19 response.

“(The county is) reimbursing salaries because it’s the easiest and cleanest — for public health, EMS and public safety — you can reimburse those salaries, which is the easiest and cleanest way to do it, which is want we want to do. We just don’t want there to be any confusion with the state,” Alligood said.

Alligood said the point of doing so was with those salaries starting in March reimbursed to the general fund, the additional money in the general fund can be used for other items, as designated by the county board.

“You can now use those funds that you’ve offset to do other things, still in a response mode, but may not be so clear-cut and easy with the state,” Alligood said.