INDIAN RIVER COUNTY ― On the recommendation of County Administrator Jason Brown, the Indian River County Commissioners on Nov. 10 approved a revised spending plan for COVID-19 funding received under the CARES Act.

According to Mr. Brown, the revisions were necessary to comply with a state mandate to encumber (restrict) the first 45% by Nov. 16, in order to receive the next 20%, or $5,581,066.

In the new spending plan, there was one reduction, which was more than offset by two much larger increases.

The allocation to the municipalities was reduced by $46,600; from $1,972,596 to $1,925,996.

The only municipality requesting a change to their allocation was the town of Orchid. Orchid’s original request was $47,600, but the town indicated that only $1,000 in additional funding is needed. The town requested that their unused allocation be contributed to the rental and mortgage assistance or the small business assistance program. Mr. Brown said that this request would be incorporated into future plan revisions if additional funding in those programs is necessary.

The city of Vero Beach also requested an amendment to their initial plan, but that change didn’t affect the dollar amount of their allocation. The county approved the Vero Beach proposal to decrease planned spending on COVID-19 testing, public safety measures, and disinfection of public areas, and increase their spending for food delivery through the Treasure Coast Food Bank and the Senior Resource Association.

The allocation for constitutional officer

expenses increased by $859,041; from $1,555,000 to $2,414,041.

The majority of this increase is to cover 10% of personnel costs for sheriff’s office employees working in the correctional facility who are spending time on COVID-19 related activities. According to Mr. Brown, staff decided to only charge the amount of staff time for public health and public safety employees that has been incurred as a direct result of COVID-19. The 10% determination was made in consultation with sheriff’s staff.

The tax collector requested an additional allocation of $20,041 for touchless pads to conduct contactless business.

The allocation for county commissioners’ expenses was increased by $1,074,077; from $1,996,337 to $3,070,414. This allocation will cover time spent on COVID-19-related activities such as managing COVID-19 rescue units, ordering and distributing PPE, and tracking positive patients, including all overtime expenses.

The additional funding will also cover bi-polar ionization proposed for county buildings A and B, the courthouse, the iG center, the health department and the emergency operations center.

According to Mr. Brown, bi-polar ionization will be added to the existing HVAC systems to reduce the airborne spread of COVID-19. Due to an unanticipated HVAC failure at the health department, bi-polar ionization will be also be installed as part of the replacement HVAC project.

Some allocations were unchanged in the new spending plan, including $400,000 for the health department; $200,000 for other healthcare providers; $810,000 for economic development; and $4,675,000 for

community support.

All together, the total allocation increased by $1,886,518; from $11,638,933 to $13,525,451.

The motion to approve these changes was approved unanimously.

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