Committee makes first pass at prioritizing ARP funding requests

Published 11:54 pm Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Carter County Health and Welfare Committee eliminated three projects and put three more on hold pending more information as members prioritized the use of ARP funding on Thursday.
Employee bonuses for working during the COVID-19 pandemic were proposed at $12,000 each for 306 county employees, a total of $3,624,000.
After discussion, the committee agreed to $5,000 per employee across the board for those who worked from March 2020 to November 2021 and who are still working. The total for qualifying employees will be about $1.5 million.
“We need to use that money for what it was allotted for and to take care of our employees,” said Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby. “Most counties have chosen a selected amount and given it out across the board.”
Finance Director Carolyn Watson was asked by the committee to verify which employees worked during the time frame.
Requests from Grief Recovery Method ($200 per attendee) and Carter County Drug Prevention ($60,000) were removed from the lists while Elizabethton City Manager Daniel Estes appeared before the committee asking that his request for $1.5 million for a fire department ladder truck be removed from consideration.
The committee combined requests from the Carter County Fire Association and Watauga Volunteer Fire Department into one request for $750,000 and also two requests from the First Utility District for new water lines across two bridges being replaced totaling $69,000 into one request.
A request for $2.5 million for the county’s internet project was unanimously approved.
The committee has asked for more information from the Carter County EMS for money to fund two new ambulances – one for the new building in the Elk Mills/Poga area and the other for the EMS squad base. Also, information will be requested from the Friends of the Animal Shelter in regard to a $655,000 request to build a new spay and neuter facility at the animal shelter.
The next Health and Welfare Committee meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7.

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