County commission president explains spending conditions for COVID-19 relief grants from the state

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Counties in West Virginia have been given $100,000 in block grants to help with COVID-19 costs.

Many have deemed this “hero pay” and believe it will go toward bonuses for frontline workers like what Kanawha County is doing with their own money.

However, Fayette County Commission President Denise Scalph says the state is not allowing it to be spent on bonuses as a letter from Governor Jim Justice says the money cannot be added to items that are already in the budget.

The letter goes on to say that the money must go to new costs associated with COVID-19 so overtime pay for first responders and supplies like PPE, still for the frontline workers, but not necessarily in the form of bonuses.

“We’re trying to come up, with our two state associations and their directors, to see if we can get a better directive and if the governor may be able to change a few things legally where you could use this, this monies,” Scalph said. 

For supplies like PPE, Scalph believes FEMA will already reimburse counties for those supplies, so she is hoping for clearer direction on what they can buy that is not already covered.

The county must put the money in a special account and must submit invoices to the state for approval.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.