By Amanda Ensinger
In Franklin Township, police and fire department staff are currently not concerned about personal protection equipment (PPE) after receiving donations from several central Ohio businesses.
Among the businesses that donated to the township included High Bank Distillery and Middle West Spirits. The township also is in the process of getting a donation from L Brands.
“Each of these companies have donated hand sanitizer to us, which has been very helpful,” said Mark Potts, administrator for Franklin Township. “For a while, we were getting low on PPE, but now we are seeing a lot more on the market and that is helping.”
At one point, the department was so low on PPE officials were looking at using trash bags as protective gowns, but according to Potts, production seems to have increased on these items and they are now more available.
Township officials are also looking toward grants and state funding to get assistance during these difficult times. Among the grants the department recently received is the CARES Provider Relief Fund via the Health and human Services (HHS) Relief Stimulus.
“The township received $20,502 from this grant,” Potts said. “The grant was to be used for EMS and was put in that fund. This was a big help to our fire department as we continue to respond to COVID-19, as well as other medical emergencies.”
The township also received about $127,000 from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation group dividends. According to Potts, the money came from worker’s compensation payments each township department previously paid for employees and the money that was returned was based on dividends from the stock market.
“Governor (Mike) DeWine’s wish was that we used these funds to invest in the health and safety of our employees,” Potts said. “The funds will go back to each department and will be distributed based on what they paid into it.”
The township is also waiting on direction from the state related to when it will receive the second distribution of tax payments.
“We mainly are funded through property taxes and those are paid in arrears in January and June,” Potts said. “There has been serious conversation about giving homeowners until August to pay the second half of taxes they owe, which would impact our funding.”
However, townships are allowed to get some of those funds earlier and then just have to pay the funds back. The township is waiting to see how early they could access those funds.
Finally, the township received an additional $500 from the OTARMA Cares Program via the American Risk Pooling Consult, the township’s property/liability insurance provider. These funds can be used for anything.
“We are continuing to look for any other ways to secure funding for the township,” Potts said. “We have recently received over $147,000 in funding and the police and fire department continue to look for other funds to secure for us.”