Dunn County adjusts 2020 budget by $2.1 million for COVID-19 grants

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE —  So far during the pandemic, Dunn County has received $2.1 million in COVID-19 Routes to Recovery and Provider Relief Grants.

The Routes to Recovery through the federal CARES act is a one-time allocation, said Keith Strey, Dunn County’s chief financial officer, during the Dunn County Board’s November 10 meeting.

Dunn County was eligible to purchase Zoom licensing for holding meetings remotely and technology equipment such as laptop computers so county employees could work remotely from home, he said.

The deadline for the county to spend the funds has already passed, but The Neighbors of Dunn County and Dunn County human services and public health also have allocations that have different deadlines and different eligibility rules, Strey said.

Will the county pay any COVID-19 related expenses in 2021? asked Steve Jenson, county board supervisor from Elk Mound.

“Yes,” Strey said, it is possible Dunn County will have COVID-19 expenses that the county will have to pay in 2021.

The technology equipment has already been purchased for people to work from home, and while there may be some Zoom expense for meetings, the majority of the money needed for Information Technology is already spent, said David Bartlett, county board supervisor from Boyceville and chair of the Dunn County Board.

The resolution approved by the county board increases the 2020 adopted budget by $2,103,068.37, while the expenditures are offset by revenue of $1,256,965.32 from the CARES Act Provider Relief Funds COVID-19 grant and $850,193 from the Routes to Recovery COVID-19 grant.

Dunn County IT received $528,510.55 in grant funds, while the sheriff’s department received $205,692.14 and the Department of Human Services received $109,102.67.

According to background information included with the resolution, as part of the CARES Act, the Provider Relief Funds were automatically distributed and must be returned if not used for COVID-19 expenses.

Dunn County received general and targeted funds totaling $1,256,965.32.

The Neighbors East, West and Central received targeted Provider Relief Funds of $492,500.

Funds of $6,731.49 were received for the Neighbors activities department for technology for enhanced quality of care.

The Neighbors also received $228,650 in nursing home specific Provider Relief Funds for COVID-19 testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Additional targeted funds of $105,115.39 were received November 2 for the Neighbors of Dunn County as an incentive payment based on the rate of COVID-19 infection. Performance is measured by infection rate and mortality and rewards high performance.

Dunn County initially was awarded $725,428 through the Routes to Recovery Grant, which is a reimbursement grant requiring itemization of expenses prior to distribution.

The grant was administered by the state and used for PPE, emergency operation activities and public safety response.

Townships in Dunn County also received funds under this grant and were able to transfer their unused funds to Dunn County.

All together, townships in Dunn County were able to transfer $124,765 to the county.

The Town of Stanton transferred, $12,908; Town of Elk Mound transferred $20,000; Town of Tainter transferred $35,000; Town of Tiffany transferred $10,112; Town of Red Cedar transferred $30,000; and the Town of Rock Creek transferred $16,745.

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