The Fayette County commissioners approved nearly $800,000 in CARES Act funding for county schools, first responders and municipalities.

Eighteen entities will receive a total of $780,456, subject to review and final approval of the county's chief financial consultant and the county's CARES Act Administration firm because the grants are being paid through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

The grants include, $248,000 to Fayette EMS for equipment and vehicles, $75,000 to the City of Connellsville for police reimbursement, $20,000 for a new 911 gate for the Fayette County Airport Authority, $23,000 to South Union Township for digitizing records and lost revenue and $50,000 for each of the county's six school districts.

At the beginning of Thursday’s meeting, Commissioner Chairman Dave Lohr made a motion to amend the original amount of $100,000 to each school district to $50,000 for each.

Lohr said that was done because the districts will be getting a second round of CARES Act funding, and the commissioners could return to discuss giving the school districts additional funds.

Commissioner Vince Vicites agreed, saying he wanted to take a conservative approach as there were still other non-profit agencies that have requested up to $906,000 in funding, and those requests still have not been reviewed.

“I want the school districts to get funding, but we may want to revisit this before the end of the year,” Vicites said, adding that money not used by a certain time would have to be returned to the federal government. “We need to make sure we cover all the bases first.”

Commissioner Scott Dunn voted against changing the amount, saying the districts are hurting and are in need of the $100,000 as the total they applied for was approximately $2.5 million.

Vicites said they can give the district $50,000 now and revisit the issue again as things progress.

“We have to make sure those who applied and haven't been reviewed can get their fair share,” Vicites said.

In other business, the commissioners:

n Approved the annual application for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for community projects in nine municipalities in the county totaling $1,410,934.

n Advertised for bids to install a retaining wall for the upper parking lot near the boiler house as well as advertising bids for electrical work for the boiler house.

n Approved the yearly Juvenile Probation Services Grant Agreement for $80,384, which is considerably less than the $225,385 from the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission. The funds are used to offset costs of juvenile probation services in the county.

Vicites said he's on the Courts of Corrections Committee through the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, and will bring it up as a concern and try to reach out to get the funding restored.

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