Local small businesses, non-profits, deputies and rescue workers will benefit from action taken Monday night by the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors.
The supervisors formally approved nine CARES Act funded programs and appropriations pertaining to local COVID-19 recovery.
The board also set a date for a public hearing on the use of golf carts in one area of Draper, and paid tribute to a former member of the board.
Prior to approval of the nine CARES Act funding proposals, supervisors Chairman Joe Guthrie reminded citizens that the CARES Act involves federal funds funneled through the state to Pulaski County.
“CARES Act funding is not local tax dollars,” Guthrie emphasized.
Chief among the nine proposals – which the supervisors approved each on individual unanimous votes – were grant programs to benefit local small businesses and non-profit organizations and provide deputies and rescue workers with hazard pay.
The Pulaski County Small Business Recovery Grant will provide grants of up to $5,000 to 125 small businesses in the county. As of Monday night, County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said the county had already received 115 applications for the funding.
The county originally proposed $350,000 in total funding for the grants, but due to the number of businesses applying, it was proposed last week that the amount of funding be increased by another $275,000 up to $625,000.
The Pulaski County Non-Profit Recovery Grant program will provide $350,000 to non-profit organizations, including churches and veterans groups.
Two of the nine appropriations involve direct pay to sheriff’s deputies and public safety personnel.
The supervisors approved one-time Hazard Duty Bonuses for Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department’s uniformed officers in the amount of $2,500.00 for the pay period of September 15, 2020.
“The hazard duty pay bonus structure is intended to value the hard work and risks taken by our uniformed officers and to compensate them for their selfless service to our county and our citizens during this daunting and unprecedented time of COVID-19,” Sweet said.
The board also approved a Hazard Duty Pay Bonus for full-time and part-time permanent public safety staff – primarily rescue squad workers – of $250 for each 108 hours worked, and such hazard duty pay bonuses will begin on August 15, 2020, and continue through November 30, 2020, or until otherwise advised.
The Pulaski County Childcare Center Emergency Recovery Grant will provide $40,000 in $10,000 grants to the four certified childcare centers in the county. Sweet said the grants will help the centers survive the pandemic when the number of child care seats are reduced due to social distancing.
The Emergency Out of School Grant Program will provide $30,000 in $7,500 grants to organizations that develop new “out of school” programs where working parents can place their children when school is not an option.
The final three programs approved by the supervisors include the New River Valley Crisis Center Expansion Project, which will create additional capacity in the center located in Radford.
The additional capacity will allow for limited COVID-19 exposure for law enforcement officers involved in civil commitments. It also allows for those officers to get back to patrolling and reduces the number of people involved in civil commitments from clogging hospital emergency rooms. Pulaski County’s participation is contingent on the rest of the New River Valley localities’ participation.
A $2,000 appropriation for the New River Valley Regional Commission Regional Housing Resource Update is for developers, contractors, realtors and local government for New River Valley housing stock information. It also is contingent on all NRV localities participating.
And finally a $15,000 contribution to the NRV Public Health Readiness Evaluation to develop a regional readiness evaluation tool to assist Pulaski County and the region’s small businesses improve their readiness to operate during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
International Overdose Awareness Day
The supervisors approved a proclamation to recognize Aug. 31 as International Overdose Awareness Day.
The day is being set aside to remember loved ones lost to overdose and ending the stigma of drug-related deaths.
Drug overdoses claimed the lives of some 72,000 Americans in 2019.
Remembering Pete Crawford
The board approved a resolution in memory of Ira S. “Pete” Crawford who passed away March 19.
A former Vice President of Pulaski Furniture Corp., Crawford also served on the Board of Supervisors, PSA, New River Resource Authority, Industrial Development Authority and Pulaski Community Hospital board.
The supervisors set Sept. 28 as the date for a public hearing to gain comments on the idea of allowing golf carts and utility vehicles on public roads in the Clarks Ferry Road area. Watch for a public hearing notice in The Patriot in weeks to come prior to the hearing.
By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot