CARES Act funding combined into pool

Jefferson County to award 30 projects

PORT TOWNSEND — The Board of Jefferson County Commissioners has approved an interlocal agreement with the City of Port Townsend, allowing them to accept about $140,000 in COVID-19 relief funds to be distributed to various groups.

The agreement places all the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic (CARES) Act funding into one pool so officials are not forced to differentiate between county funds and city funds.

The pact, approved unanimously on Monday, formally recognizes the county’s and city’s intent to pool the funds to distribute to the 30 projects that were prioritized by the Intergovernmental Collaborative Group, said Philip Morley, county administrator.

The city will transfer $144,150 from its general fund to the county — which will be reimbursed through the CARES Act — and the funds will join the $633,515 that the county was allotted for reimbursement. The total of $777,665 will be distributed among the various projects, Morley said.

The combined cost for the selected proposals is $831,920 — $54,255 more than the available funds — so county staff will work with the proposals from the culture and events organizations and for the Jefferson County Public Utility’s countywide hot spots to scale them down from $60,000 and $190,000 respectively, to stay within budget, according to commission documents.

The county commissioners approved a measure Sept. 23 to fund the proposals, depending on the adjusted amounts and the city funding.

Prioritized lists of projects and their associated costs came from six community groups, which presented their goals to the Intergovernmental Collaborative Group: culture and events, economy and jobs, children and families, human services, food system resiliency and broadband.

The top priority of the children and families group, for example, is to establish a family resources navigator through the YMCA at a cost of $55,000, which would in part pay for development of a user-friendly website and a phone line staffed by the navigator to connect families with resources, such as affordable childcare.

District 1 commissioner Kate Dean said she was pleased with the process.

“I’m glad that we’re approaching this collaboratively and relying on the on the Intergovernmental Collaborative Group and the community groups to expend these funds,” Dean said.

“So, (I’m) grateful for the effort that has gone into having this be a community-wide effort and not saying ‘well, that’s city money, this is county money.’

“The city is in the county. We have to be approaching this together.”

The county and city have until Nov. 30 to allot the funds and report them to the state Department of Commerce.

The meeting and the full list of the 30 approved proposals can be viewed at tinyurl.com/PDN-JeffersonCARES.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].

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