County benefits from CARES funding

Published 6:05 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2021

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With the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, many localities, Lunenburg included benefited from millions of dollars in funding that saved future local tax dollars.

According to county Administrator Tracy Gee, Lunenburg was able to fund many vital projects with its $2.1 million throughout 2020 with CARES funding.

The funding also left many local governments working at a record-breaking pace to advance projects ahead of the end-of-year deadline, until the deadline to spend the CARES Act funds  was extended to Dec. 31 of 2021.

Tracy Gee

Before the deadline was extended, counties would have to return any unused portion of funds.

Gee said Lunenburg spent all but $600,000 of its $2.1 million allotment.

With the new extension, those funds did not have to be returned. Gee said she is hoping to hold those funds in reserve.

In Virginia, communities have used CARES funding to invest in wide-ranging COVID-19-related projects — including boosting testing and contact tracing efforts, strengthening high-speed internet connectivity, and improving ventilation in public schools.

According to Gee, of the $2.1 million, the Towns of Kenbridge and Victoria both requested between $25,000 and $30,000.

The use of CARES funding came with strict guidelines as to what it could be used for.

Though the county followed all guidelines, some projects that Lunenburg used funds for will benefit the county beyond the pandemic and save local tax dollars.

Gee said an ambulance for the Victoria Fire and Rescue and Meherrin Volunteer Fire and Rescue (partially funded by Prince Edward County), rescue equipment for the ambulances and both local squads, devices for increased resuscitation in cardiac arrest patients, breathing apparatus for fire and rescue and Wi-Fi access points and upgrades are just a few.

CARES funds were also used for generators for emergency management offices to provide continuity of operations, set-up of a backup 911 call center, safety barriers at multiple offices, and emergency radio communication system upgrades.

According to Gee, electronic meeting access equipment for public meetings is also in the process that will bring technology to the Board of Supervisors meetings, allowing citizens to participate virtually.