(Posted June 17, 2020)
By Josephine Birdsell, Staff Writer
The village of West Jefferson is set to receive $75,000 from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES).
The money must be used only for direct expenditures responding to or mitigating the spread of the virus. The money cannot be used to make up for lost village revenue from decreased taxes, utilities, community center rentals and the like, explained Rebecca Arnott, West Jefferson’s finance director.
“We don’t decide how we’re going to use (the funds),” said Mayor Ray Martin. “Just when something comes in that’s COVID related, we can use (the funds) to cover that.”
The money can be used to retroactively cover any expenses beginning in January. All money that West Jefferson does not use by the end of 2020 must be returned to the federal government.
So far, the village has spent money on masks, hand sanitizer and other supplies, covering Medicare expenditures, and giving paid time off to at-risk government employees and government employees with doctor’s orders to stay home.
“We’ve been fortunate in West Jefferson because of the restrictions we’ve placed on ourselves and following the county guidelines,” Martin said.
In other news, the Parks and Recreation Department’s Lunch & Learn program is serving meals-on-the-go to children. Families can pick up three meals per child and a themed activity kit every Wednesday at the community center. Families do not need to sign up to participate in the program. Drop-ins are accepted.
The modified Lunch & Learn program will continue until school starts or until state health guidelines permit groups of more than 10 people to congregate, at which point a sit-down Lunch & Learn program may commence.
The modified program began on June 17. Lunch & Learn organizers expected to feed about 50 children, but they ended up serving about 130 children. The program is working to prepare for increased numbers this week, said Marci Darlington, parks and recreation director.
The next West Jefferson council meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. July 6. Check the village website, www.westjeffersonohio.gov, for meeting information.