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Pott. County to use $1.6 million in CARES Act funds

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

Pottawatomie County Commissioners voted in their meeting Monday to purchase additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for various county entities and to host a meeting with mayors and superintendents throughout the county to discuss their needs regarding funding and COVID-19. 

According to District 2 Commissioner Randy Thomas, the commissioners decided to use the $1.6 million awarded to them from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act for reimbursement of a variety of items which will be paid for with use tax money. 

First, Thomas said commissioners will hold a special meeting with area mayors and superintendents sometime this week at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center to discuss funding the cities and districts already have available and funding the county needs to provide.

Thomas said the county doesn’t want to duplicate COVID-19 related purchases cities and schools can already make and would rather provide them with additional supplies and aid. 

Thomas said the commissioners also decided to use CARES Act money to reimburse the funding of the temporary relocation of the District Attorney’s Child Support Services staff to the old MidFirst building on Broadway Street in downtown Shawnee.

According to District Attorney Allan Grubb, he made this request because the Oklahoma Department of Human Services made all their offices remote sites and he would like his employees to be able to work together in an office. 

In Monday’s meeting, District 1 Commissioner Melissa Dennis said the CARES Act funds would be used to reimburse county funds used for repairs and other needed services so the Child Support Services staff has what they need in their new office.

In addition, Thomas said commissioners recently submitted a reimbursement for a $69,000 purchase made for PPE and will use additional funds to purchase more PPE and Conex Shipping containers. 

Thomas said the shipping containers are 40 feet long and eight feet tall and will be used to store PPE such as masks, gloves, suits, face shields and more in a climate controlled environment. 

The commissioner also said there will be two shipping containers in each county district yard. 

Thomas said the county has until the end of December to use the CARES Act funding and therefore will make sure to utilize it to help Pottawatomie County as much as possible.

Check back for updates.