Pulaski County Council Considers COVID-19 Response Funding

The Pulaski County Council took the first step Monday in making funding available for the county’s COVID-19 response, but not without calling for more oversight when spending it. The county’s incident command team had asked for permission to spend up to $250,000 out of the county’s Riverboat Fund.

Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer told council members that the team would only use what it needs. “These will be for PPE; potentially mileage, if needed; potentially overtime pay, if needed,” Origer explained.

Those costs would be eligible for a 75-percent reimbursement from the federal government.

But Council Member Brian Young complained that the county council had been left out of the conversation and said that before Monday’s meeting, he’d gotten several different answers to things like who’s in charge and what the money can be used for. “The county council should not have to beg for answers when you’re asking us for a quarter of a million dollars,” he said.

A few council members spoke in favor of starting with $50,000. County Health Officer and Incident Commander Dr. Rex Allman felt that should get the team through the end of the summer.

In the end, council members decided to advertise an additional appropriation request for $100,000, as a compromise. Council Member Kathi Thompson noted that the Health Department has recently had problems getting council approval for the funding it needs to run its programming.

The county council also appointed Young and Rudy DeSabatine to serve as its representatives to provide oversight on the incident command team. The additional appropriation still needs the council’s final approval.