Clark County Commission: Federal relief funds allocated for dispatch center, reentry services

The Clark County commission on Feb. 23 allocated up to $2.5 million in federal relief funds for reimbursement to the county for dispatch center costs, as well as up to $300,000 for the programming and personnel expenses for reentry services.

The $2.5 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding allocated toward the dispatch center expenses will reimburse the county for a portion of costs incurred from March 3 and Dec. 31 last year, as well as expected costs for the next two years.

The allocation amount for the reimbursement will cover the increase in costs in the county’s dispatch center witnessed due to the pandemic, according to the commission.

The county is providing 40% more services to income-qualified census tracts with the addition of municipalities to its dispatching operations, and ARPA funds will be used to reimburse those costs to the county’s general fund. The allocation approved by the commission on Wednesday does not include the income paid into the county by the townships and municipalities, according to Clark County spokesperson Mike Cooper.

More than $50,000 in federal relief dollars this month were also allocated by the commission to cover the dispatch center fees for German Twp., South Charleston, Enon, Tremont City, Catawba, North Hampton, South Vienna and Donnelsville.

The $300,000 allocated toward the reentry services will cover the costs of programming, as well as personnel-related expenses.

The county once had a reentry services coalition geared toward assisting people preparing to leave incarceration, and this new department, and a position for a director to lead it, will be created to assist people who are preparing to leave incarceration.

“It will be very nice to have somebody establish those goals and a plan so we know what we’re working toward,” said commissioner Melanie Flax Wilt.

ARPA dollars can fund resources that respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and the dispatch center allots local law enforcement the ability to promote public safety, according to the commission. ARPA money can also fund behavioral health services in incarceration settings and diversion programs from the criminal justice system.

The money authorized to cover the fees is part of the $26 million allocated to Clark County from the $1.9 trillion ARPA that President Joe Biden signed into law in March. A total of $350 billion was allocated to help local governments across the country reeling from pandemic impact.

The commissioners have allocated millions in ARPA funds for various projects, such as for the reimbursement to the general fund for pandemic-related losses in revenue, the reimbursement of employee paid administrative leave and the funding of technology for the county’s dispatch center, expected to open this year.

Commissioners also approved ARPA spending for a stormwater improvement project for Enon-Xenia Road to help alleviate flooding in the area and for a fiber optic project to service county-owned buildings, as well as a safety improvement project for Spangler Road.

In November 2021, the commission also authorized $800,000 of spending toward a project to extend the waterline that runs near Park Layne. Another $220,000 was allocated in January to cover assistance expenses of Clark County veterans seeking aid through the county veterans office.

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