BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Recently, all counties in West Virginia received $100,000 to use for what people are calling hero pay, but what the funding can actually be used for isn’t too clear.
Hero pay is the phrase referring to the concept of paying essential workers bonuses for working during the pandemic. When the $100,000 grants were first announced, the governor implied he wanted the money to be used for hero pay.
However, counties have been having issues figuring out how to best distribute the money, as there are misconceptions about how the state government wants the counties to spend it.
Specifically, the money is able to be used on reimbursing organizations for expenses relating to the pandemic that took them over their budgets. These expenses can be for personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies, or even direct bonuses given to employees.
Raleigh County has decided to put the money away until more information comes out from the state government about what the money should be used for, and how it should be accounted.
Raleigh Commissioner Ron Hedrick says it would be great to distribute the money directly to workers, but the grant just isn’t large enough.
“Honestly that’d be great if that was the way it was intended, but it would also take a lot more than $100,000. Because I would say we probably have thousands of people in that same situation that every day got up, put on their uniform, whether it was a police officer, fireman, a nurse, doctor,” Hedrick said.
Raleigh County has roughly 73,300 people, a large portion of which can be considered essential workers. If the county did decide to spend the $100,000 on reimbursing companies for direct payments to workers, the number of workers paid would be very little, or the amount paid out would be incredibly small.
Counties have until December of this year to disburse the funds.