The City of Hinesville held their regular meeting with Mayor and Council Aug. 20, and reported they received their first 1.7 million from the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF).
According to City Financial Officer Kimberly Ryon more payments are expected to be received as well. In all the city anticipates receiving roughly 5.8 million.
“As we mentioned in the last meeting, we received 1.7 million and last Friday we got some training and also learned the 1.7 million was round one of the CRF, the first 30 percent,” Ryon said. “So, in a nutshell we will receive funds in separate rounds of payments.”
Ryon said she needed the Mayor and Council to approve the authorization of the first 1.7 million of funds received. Those funds will reimburse the city on expenditures already incurred from COVID related purchases and payments.
The City had until Sept. 1 to utilize the first 1.7 million. Considering the city spent $3,378191.55 million since March, the first disbursement was completely utilized.
According to Ryon’s report of the $3,378191.55 in COVID related expenses since the shutdowns began in March, $61,1008.13 was spent on personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting supplies, computer hardware and software legal fees and other COVID related supplies that were purchased from March 1 through Aug. 15.
Ryon said the remaining $3,317,183.42 was spent on covering salary, wages and benefits for City employees who were affected by the pandemic from March 9 through Aug. 9.
“Mrs. Ryon, the 3.3 million dollars is money we already spent right?” Councilman Karli Riles asked. “And this would be the reimbursement of that money?”
“It would consume all of the 1.7 million,” Ryon said.
“So, this grant money is coming back to us and will go into our general fund?” Riles asked.
“Yes,” Ryon responded.
Ryon said they have proposed expenditures totaling $774,028.00 for equipment and software to maintain virtual environments as needed, public safety capital and equipment needs more disinfecting equipment, rent, mortgage and utility assistance and other COVID related expenses. Included in that amount is $100,000.00 for small business recovery grants.
That would bring the grand total of COVID expenses to $4,152,219.55 plus an additional 1.7 million still yet discussed to equal the 5.8 million in funds.
Councilwoman Diana Reid asked whether any of the funds could be used to pay police, firefighters and first responders some form of extra pay for being on the frontlines of the pandemic and being actively exposed to the virus.
Ryon said the funds can’t be used as bonus pay but said there are guidelines allowing funds to be used to cover things such as hazard pay.
Reid requested that the Mayor, Council and City management get together to discuss the proposed expenditures and additional 1.7 million that is on the table before approving the finalized expenses.
Councilman Riles agreed.
Councilman Jason Floyd said they should meet to discuss the matter, but the motion before them was to approve the 1.7 million already received which reimbursed the city’s General fund. If they didn’t approve the motion, they would lose the 1.7 million. The motion was approved unanimously.
Hinesville City Manager Kenneth Howard said they are waiting to hear back from the state as to when the next rounds of funds would be disbursed.
The Mayor and council also approved the Bradwell Park Renovation concept plan moving the park renovation forward at an anticipated cost of $987,367.00.
They also awarded McLendon Enterprise the job of replacing the failed influent screen at the Hinesville Pumping Station at a cost of $440,742.27 from the water and sewer funds.
Mayor and Council awarded First Transit Inc., to be the third-party operator management services for the Liberty Transit public transportation and approved an alcohol and business license to operate a convenience store at 241 Memorial Drive to Jay Vashudev and Company.