Virginia’s localities representing all regions have demanded the General Assembly to consider funding for educational and emergency services under the varying financial impact of COVID-19 in different places.
On Monday, a panel discussion was made at the Joint subcommittee on Local Government Fiscal stress meeting which presented a multidimensional picture of the pandemic’s effects on the communities.
Virginia’s Counties Demand Relief For Public Safety And Education
The panel included presentations from the county representatives of Henrico, Fairfax, York, and Pennsylvania with similar expenditures, though the pandemic’s impact varies in each.
The county administrator of York County, Neal Morgan said that it is possible to solve hundreds of different problems.
However, the two biggest things on which all spent money is in public safety and education. If these two areas are provided with enough support, all other challenges can be much more manageable.
The legislative fiscal analyst for the Virginia House Appropriations Committee, Kimberly McKay said that Virginia would receive approximately $2.7 billion in the latest Federal COVID-19 relief funds.
Among which the majority, i.e, $963 million will be taken to the education stabilization fund for the Commonwealth.
McKay added that these funds could go to flexible uses like Title One expenses, PPE, remote learning technologies, and HVAC improvements.
The authority has decided so far that around 90 percent of the funds will directly go towards these divisions of schools.
Around $840 million, which is more triple than the amount received through the Elementary Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund in the CARES Act.
30% of the previous relief funds were spent on public health and safety by the Commonwealth. The area of public health and safety was the highest in which the Commonwealth had spent most of the fund.
Many communities benefited from the funds as there were any other resources available for those to enhance their healthcare facilities by themselves.
Pennsylvania County administrator, David Smitherman said that they advanced programs according to their wildest imagination. The purchase of quick response vehicles is one of the examples.
He added that in their company, they have around 20 -24 fire and rescue agencies in the community but they weren’t well prepared for the pandemic.
They are proud that they largely prioritized the safety of their people using CRF funds to provide them with needs like supplies, PPE, ambulances, and trucks.
The localities of Virginia could spend money on behalf of public safety.
The director of finance for Henrico County, Meghan Coates said that the notion of public safety was vague until decades ago as it was something related to the administration of law, arrest, and prosecution.
Currently, they could find that creating a safe and sustainable environment that can build the community is much more than that. However, it currently encompasses social services, mental health, and taking care of helpless people.