Most county pandemic relief is spent

Louisa County has found ways to spend most of the $6.6 million it received from the federal government to help mitigate the burdens of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wanda Colvin, the county’s finance director, broke down the ways the county has used the money from the CARES Act, passed by Congress last April, and several smaller pots of money targeted at the virus’ impact.

The largest single use of the money has been $2.6 million for Louisa County Sheriff’s Office salaries. The county was able to use the federal funds to pay salaries because sheriff’s deputies are “substantially dedicated” to responding to the pandemic, Colvin said. The same reasoning enabled the county to spend $123,000 earlier this year on body cameras for the sheriff’s office.

Another $900,000 of CARES money is being used to buy two ambulances and four rapid response vehicles for the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, and $382,000 more for additional radios for the department’s emergency communications system.

So far the county has used $114,000 of the federal funds to make grants to small businesses that were negatively affected by the pandemic. Andy Wade, the county’s economic development director, said he has been surprised that there wasn’t more interest in the grants. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors made $750,000 available for businesses, but may end up using most of it for other purposes.

Louisa County Public Schools received $772,000 via the CARES Act, separate from the $6.6 million allocated to the county. The towns of Louisa and Mineral received $385,000 altogether as pass-through payments from the county.

All of the CARES Act money must be spent by the end of the calendar year, per the terms of the federal legislation.

With $1.6 million left to spend, Colvin suggested a few more things the supervisors could use it for. They include $1.2 million for building projects that have been on the wish list for several years as county government has grown and space has become more limited. She didn’t specify what projects might qualify. Construction, which could include a new, freestanding building, might cost more than what is available from the federal pot of money.

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