County approves first round of COVID response funds

By: 
Adam Rollins
Staff Writer

Warren County will distribute $41,000 to local governments and emergency agencies to help reimburse their first two months of COVID-19 expenses.

County officials announced the funding July 14. This will be the first round of reimbursements from the $4.1 million in federal CARES Act funding granted to Warren County to help with COVID-19 prevention and relief.

These first disbursements are conservative, accounting for only 1 percent of Warren County’s available funding. The first round of funding will reimburse personal protective equipment, sanitization supplies and other COVID-related expenses purchased in March and April.

County officials said they’ve decided to defer any reimbursement of emergency personnel payroll until the end of this year.

“If the (county) were to approve all requests for payroll reimbursement right now, the county itself would bankrupt the program,” commented county attorney Mark Vincent. “If we have a spike (in cases) and some kind of catastrophic event takes place, we’ve got to have money to deal with that.”

However, any funding left over at the end of this year can be considered for the payroll reimbursement requests, Vincent said.

Presiding County Commissioner Joe Gildehaus said the first round of funding disbursements would likely be issued late next week.

All requests for the CARES Act funds are being filtered through an advisory committee of three local businessmen. The committee will make recommendations on how to use the funds based on directives from the Warren County Commission, but ultimately the commission has final say on how the dollars will be disbursed.

Boonslick Regional Planning Commission is also assisting the county to ensure the CARES Act spending is compliant with federal and state guidelines for the money.

Going forward, Chad Eggen with Boonslick Regional Planning Commission said a new round of CARES spending will be announced every two months. The next round will reimburse expenses from May and June.

District breakdown

Local governments and regional emergency agencies submitted their requests for reimbursement in May. Eggen said many districts are not getting all the money they requested, in large part because of the county postponing any decision on personnel costs. Some of the expenses were incurred in May, and so will be considered for the next round of reimbursement in September, Eggen said.

These are the requested funding amounts and approved reimbursements announced by the county July 14:
• County Commission — Requested: $8,543. Approved: $6,055.
• County Health Department — Requested: $17,394. Approved: $11,073.
• County Emergency Management Agency — Requested: $2,829. Approved: $2,829.
• Sheriff’s Department — Requested: $7,819. Approved: $4,889.
• Warren County 911 Dispatch — Requested: $1,989. Approved: $1,989.
• Warren County Ambulance — Requested: $3,363. Approved: $2,899.
• City of Warrenton — Requested: $191,929. Approved: $5,546.

City Attorney Christopher Graville said Warrenton submitted its reimbursement request based on guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which indicated any emergency service personnel could potentially be considered as part of the city’s COVID-19 response.

• Warrenton Fire District — Requested: $7,160. Approved: $558.
• Wright City — Requested: $14,981. Approved: $1,260.
• Wright City Fire District — Requested: $2,740. Approved: $849.
• City of Truesdale — Requested: $1,679. Approved: $1,397.
• Marthasville Community Ambulance — Requested: $8,347. Approved: $813.
• Marthasville Fire District — Requested:$464. Approved: $464.
• City of Foristell — Requested: $1,079. Approved: $1,079.
• Marthasville, Innsbrook, Pendleton — No funding requests for March or April.

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