At the regular Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting on October 27, 2020, the board discussed and approved unanimously seven items relating to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The first item voted on and approved was an additional maximum of $110,000.00 for Nabors, Giblin and Nickerson, P.A., for General legal consulting representation related to the CARES Act. This legal group assists the board in reviewing continuously changing laws associated with the CARES Act. The law firm also provides assistance with “the creation and implementation of plans to provide disbursements to pass-through entities … drafting of subrecipient agreements; auditing of submissions received by subrecipients; providing guidance as it relates to Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) and Treasury requirements; and providing assistance with procurements related to the CARES Act.”
Rogers reported that the legal fees to Nabors, Giblin and Nickerson seem steep, however the county can expect to receive an estimated $14 million in funding from the CARES Act.
The second item is an agreement with the state Division of Emergency Management for CARES Act funding assistance for economic recovery resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and associated budget resolution. The passage of this resolution allows the county to move on to Phase Two, which will result in a grant award amendment for $6,767,509 with no cost match from the County.
This agreement includes several rules that the county must follow in order to account for the distribution of funds and other reporting requirements.
Commissioner Steve Champion motioned to approve “the acceptance of the phony money,” to which Commissioner John Allocco commented by saying, “The taxpayer here is going to have to pay for this for the next 30 years or more… so we might as well get some of it. It’s just frustrating that this is the way it’s set up because you know here we are spending again ‘phony money’ — money that was printed. We’re all [going to] be paying for this, our grandkids and our great-grandkids…”
The third item approved was “a budget adjustment to reflect COVID-19 pandemic expenditures and recognize CARES Act funding within the Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Budget.
Expenditures associated with Covid 19 were not originally budgeted at the beginning of the fiscal year 2019-20 budget. Expenditures the Clerk’s Office experienced will be offset with CARES Act funding through the Board. This budget adjustment increases both Covid expenditure budgets and the transfer from the Board (for CARES Act funding) in the same amount. There is no additional budget obligation for the Board, and this budget adjustment does not negatively impact the Board’s budget.”
Item four delegates a Chief Procurement Officer and/or County Administrator for CARES Act Purchase Approvals Exceeding $35,000. No financial impact is associated with this resolution.
Allowable expenditures are for the public health emergency relating to COVID-19, including:
— Medical expenses.
— Public health expenses.
— Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
— Expenses of actions to facilitate compliance with COVID-19 related public health measures. — Expenses associated with the provision of economic support in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency.
— Any other COVID-19 related expenses reasonably necessary to the function of government that satisfy the fund’s eligibility criteria.
Chairman John Mitten commented that the language of the delegation of “Chief Procurement Officer and/or County Administrator” should be reduced to “and” to include James Wunderle as Chief Procurement Officer working in concert with County Administrator Jeff Rogers. “There is so much money here, I think it’s important here for the stewardship of the taxpayers.”
Commissioner John Allocco added that each time such a purchase be made, that the board be informed if questions arise that should be addressed in a meeting.
The measure passed unanimously with the amendments.
Item five is the first amendment to the Coronavirus Relief Fund Subrecipient Agreement with the Florida Housing Finance Corporation for State Housing Initiatives Partnership. This amendment provides for an additional $352,857 for CARES Housing Assistance funding. “These funds provide housing relief for eligible households with incomes that are below 120% of the area median income level. Household incomes must have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 to qualify. Funding may be used for rental assistance, mortgage buydowns, ad payments, emergency repair, insurance deductibles, housing reentry, foreclosure prevention, relocation assistance and home ownership counseling. The funding covers the period from March 1, 2020 to December 30, 2020.”
Items six and seven passed unanimously. The ratification of two agreements from June 23, 2020, which cover CARES Act Funding Requests from the Fifth Judicial Circuit and various non-profit organizations.
“Funding certification agreements have been entered into with the Constitutional Offices and Judicial for $2,937,943.80. The City of Brooksville agreement is for $215,271.29. The actual amounts may differ depending upon the actual verification of eligible expenses.”
Non-profit agencies include:
— Arc the Nature Coast: $46,172
— Early Learning Coalition: $71,872
— Mid FL Community Services: $121,558
— Salvare Inc. (aka Dawn Center): $52,243
— Salvation Army: $126,750
— Youth and Family Alternatives: $40,500
— United Way: $249,000
— Operation Par: $15,000
— Premier Health: $324,451
— Society of St. Vincent: $32,246
— Baycare: $49,113
— Pace Center for Girls: $29,863
— Greater Hope: $5,100
— Innovation Collective: $382,441
— Mid Florida Homeless Coalition: $18,009
— Jericho Road Ministries: $28,497