The city of Port Clinton installed this station for patrons of downtown businesses to have a place to sanitize and wash their hands outside. Expenses like this incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to be covered by CARES Act funds. (Photo: Jon Stinchcomb/News Herald)
COLUMBUS – Millions more in federal funds from the CARES Act is set to be on the way to local governments throughout Ohio, including nearly $3 million to those in Ottawa County.
Last week, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 614, which approves the distribution of an additional $650 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, to counties, municipalities and townships.
The funds have been allocated on a per capita basis and are to be used for local government expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic from March 1 through the end of the year. Any unused funds will have to be returned to the state.
A total of $2,920,698 will be distributed to 21 local government entities in Ottawa County, which includes the following allocations:
• Ottawa County: $1,460,349
• Clay Center: $10,883
• Elmore: $50,306
• Genoa: $82,053
• Marblehead: $31,135
• Oak Harbor: $97,549
• Port Clinton: $222,557
• Put-in-Bay: $5,081
• Rocky Ridge: $14,667
• Allen Township: $123,242
• Bay Township: $41,621
• Benton Township: $78,053
• Carroll Township: $75,171
• Catawba Island Township: $127,170
• Clay Township: $95,315
• Danbury Township: $151,602
• Erie Township: $42,810
• Harris Township: $55,783
• Portage Township: $45,874
• Put-in-Bay Township: $17,189
• Salem Township: $92,288
“I hope that this money is targeted responsibly and is utilized for the people who were impacted the hardest by COVID-19 and the shutdown,” said State Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, of Ohio’s 89th House District, which includes Ottawa and Erie counties.
According to a news release from Swearingen, the funds can be used to cover the costs of pandemic-related expenses such as the work of first responders, other local services, personal protective equipment, or PPE, equipment for remote work and other purposes, or for additional testing.
The Ottawa County Municipal Court recently had clear acrylic barriers installed throughout its offices to mitigate potential spread of COVID-19. Pandemic-related expenses like this may be eligible to be covered by CARES Act funds, more of which is set to be distributed to local government entities. (Photo: Jon Stinchcomb/News Herald)
Swearingen was one of a total of 88 state representatives in Columbus that voted in favor of H.B. 614 last week. Only two representatives voted against the bill.
The bill was also passed unanimously by the Ohio Senate and is now awaiting the signature of Gov. Mike DeWine to become law, and the legislation contains an emergency clause making it effective immediately once it is signed.
H.B. 614 would be the second measure passed in Ohio for the distribution of CARES Act funds throughout the state after H.B. 481, which was signed into law in June, approved the previous distribution of $350 million to local governments.
But H.B. 614 also contains a measure designed to improve Ohio’s unemployment compensation system with the creation of what is being called the “Unemployment Compensation Modernization and Improvement Council.”
The council will be tasked with evaluating the claim filing process and its technological infrastructure.
According to the legislation, the state auditor will be required to examine and make recommendations on the efficiency of the process and the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will be required to create a constituent referral system and strategic staffing plan as part of the improvement efforts.
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