Clark County commission: Nearly $1M in federal relief allocated to technology purchases, 2 jobs

The Clark County commission this week allocated up to $900,000 in federal relief to cover the cost of equipment at the Clark County Department of Job and Family Services and to cover the costs of employing a homelessness coordinator and mental health therapist for several years.

The Clark County commission, which typically meets on Wednesdays at Springview Government Center, met Thursday because of a scheduling conflict.

Up to $50,000 was allocated to new laptops and computers for the county’s Job and Family Services department for employees to work remotely.

Clark County administrator Jenny Hutchison said this allocation hits “two-fold”: the state will not provide technology to part-time employees at that department. In response to the national worker shortage, Hutchinson said that the department is trying to attract part-time workers.

The county commission allocated up to $150,000 to staff a homelessness coordinator to oversee efforts for the joint Clark County and Springfield’s homelessness taskforce, which aims to create an exit plan for the use of hotels and motels to house people experiencing homelessness in the area.

The county’s allocation will cover employee costs from the coordinator’s hiring date until 2026. The city of Springfield will also contribute $150,000, according to Hutchinson.

Another allocation of up to $700,000 was made to fund a mental health therapist position to work at the Clark County Jail full-time. The allocation covers employee costs until 2026.

Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett, who attended Thursday’s commission meeting, said it’s been years since the jail has had a mental heath therapist working for it in a full-time capacity.

Hutchinson also said the mental health therapist will assist with reentry services for people leaving incarceration. These reentry services received an ARPA allocation of up to $300,000 back in February.

Prior to Thursday’s allocation approvals, the Clark County commission has also allocated more than $23 million of the funding to 21 projects and other items, such as employee paid administrative leave and 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 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 assist Clark County veterans seeking aid through the county veterans office.

Up to $2.5 million in the federal relief dollars was allocated to reimburse the county for a portion of dispatch center costs, as well an additional $300,000 to cover the costs of programming and personnel expenses for reentry services for people preparing to leave incarceration in Clark County.

The commission also voted to allocate $125,000 for a part-time position for several years for the Ohio State University extension office of Clark County. The position will focus on assisting the county’s local food program and community gardens. In addition, roughly $260,000 in ARPA funding was allocated to reimburse the county for COVID-19 health care expenses incurred by the county self-insurance health care program.

In addition, the commission allocated $10 million in ARPA funding in total to reimburse the county for revenue loss that resulted from the pandemic.

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