Dade County’s E-911/Emergency Management (EMA) Director Alex Case announced the receipt of funds to help offset costs due to COVID-19.
Case spoke at the August County Commission meeting explaining the funds received, process to use them, and deadlines, and asked for Commissioners to approve someone to approve expenditures and contracts for service without having to call a special meeting for every expense. Case said a total of $731,035 in funds had come through GEMA and the CARES Act and was recently deposited into the county’s accounts with $219,311 needing to be spent before the end of August.
Case said the funds are to be used for changes to facilities due to COVID-19 like dividers, sanitizing stations, and enclosure for officers providing security at the court facility entrance; any safety and medical supplies like Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) needed for staff, fire, EMS and law enforcement; and other related expenses. Case also informed Commissioners that the county had already had contractors in to bid on additional ventilation systems and other services and projects for public areas in the county facilities which include the administration building, library, senior center, jail, and court facilities. The funds can also help pay for purchases of additional laptops for those county employees needing to work from home or having to work from home and some payroll expenses due to COVID. The county is also looking at upgrading the phone system for teleworking.
In order to spend the funds, which are a100% grant with no matching, Case must load a request and amounts to a website set up for COVID spending through the CARES Act and wait for the approval. Once approved, the funds can be spent and the receipts provided back to the website. Case asked that the Deputy Clerk, County Executive Ted Rumley, and any other commissioner be allowed to review the bids and contracts and approve them without a vote by the entire commission in a special called meeting since so much of the funds need to be spent or obligated fairly quickly. Case said some money was spent prior to receiving the funds out of the fiscal year 2020 and 2021 budgets.
Commissioners authorized Rumley, along with the approval of any other commissioner, to approve purchases and contracts to be paid through CARES Act.
Case said that Trenton has also received funding and will be discussing funding projects and expenditures at the City Commission meeting on Monday, August 10.
Video from the County Commission work session and meeting can be viewed below.