West Virginia county officials working together to help allocate potential funding during pandemic

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – Several West Virginia County Officials are working with the National Association of Counties to help allocate federal funding during the pandemic.

They want to work with the government on the federal level to help allocate funding for counties in need. In Mercer County, Commissioner Greg Puckett is working on this initiative, saying that a huge need is for flexibility with any additional funding the county gets. 

“The moneys that we have on a local level traditionally, or the moneys that come down from the feds, we can only spend in certain ways according to auditors. And that is what basically happened with the CARES money,” Puckett said.

When the CARES Act passed, each West Virginia county received $100,000 to use for COVID relief, but they could only spend it in certain ways and not all the money went to where they wanted it to go. Now, Mercer County wants the opportunity to spend any relief money they get in different ways, such as helping out specific organizations. 

“Now if we get federal dollars and it opens up the opportunity to work with transition teams, hospitals and health departments, then that gives us a little more flexibility.”

The National Association of Counties represents more than 3,000 counties across the United States, and they’re hoping their influence helps show Congress why this flexibility is needed. Especially as COVID cases continue to rise and need for additional funding on the local level grows. 

“It really gives us an opportunity to express varied views from a federal based level coming down to the local level. It allows us a voice to say these are our local conditions and these are the ways we need to fight not only for Mercer County, but for all rural counties across the United States.”

West Virginia is one of the few states in the nation that has representation in The National Association of Counties in all of its counties. They’re hoping that working with the association will help amplify their voice and put funding where it needs to go.