Summit County to use federal money to pay communities’ employees

Akron Beacon Journal

Summit County will use part of the millions it received in federal money during the coronavirus pandemic to help cities, villages and townships in the county pay their public safety and health employees.

Summit County Council approved a resolution creating the County of Summit COVID-19 Local Government Payroll Support Grant Program.

County Council also authorized the county executive to execute grant agreements with the 31 communities in Summit County, totaling up to $35 million, to cover funding payroll expenses for public safety and public health positions deemed substantially dedicated to COVID-19 response.

The funding is meant to help ensure employees aren’t furloughed or laid off.

"We know that these communities are struggling with their budgets,” said Brian Nelsen, chief of staff to the Summit County executive. “Getting out in front of this and providing some reassurance that they're going to be able to get through this year while their income tax revenues are tumbling is, we believe, the right thing to do.”

The county received $94.4 million from the federal government as part of the more than $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, providing for payments to state, local and tribal governments navigating the effects of COVID-19.

The U.S. Treasury Department said recipients of the funds can share the money with other communities within their boundaries.

Funding for the first round of the program will match the total CARES Act dollars that will be distributed to Summit County communities through House Bill 481.

The bill, which was passed by both the Ohio Senate and House and signed into law by the governor, authorizes the distribution of $350 million of CARES Act funding to counties, municipalities and townships across Ohio for COVID-19 pandemic-related expenses.

Through the bill, about $17.8 million will be sent to Summit County to be distributed to communities in the county. The county is contributing another $17.8 million from its CARES Act money strictly for payroll support.

Eligible employees include those in law enforcement, emergency medical service, fire service or public health service. Eligible expenses include wage and benefit costs associated with public health and public safety employees, retroactive to March 1 and through Dec. 30.

The county used a population-based formula to determine how much each community will receive.

The city of Akron will get more than $8 million each from the HB 481 distribution and the county direct distribution, for a total of more than $16 million.

“The funds will be used to cover the costs of first responders in accordance with the guidelines of the payroll support program,” Akron finance director Steve Fricker said.

Cuyahoga Falls received nearly $1.6 million through the HB 481 funding and is expected to receive more than $1.4 million through the county’s payroll support program.

"We are grateful for the release of these funds that will be used to keep people working during this challenging economic climate," Mayor Don Walters said. "Our city revenues have been hard hit due to the global pandemic, and this will help relieve some of the unanticipated financial strain on our workforce."

Ohio received $1.2 billion from the federal government through the CARES Act that’s meant to be sent to local communities. Since the state only allocated $350 million, leaving another $850 million unallocated, additional rounds of funding for Summit County’s payroll support program are possible.

Communities are required to complete and sign an application and agreement with a list of employees who will be paid using the program money and the amount of their 2020 budgets allocated to wages and benefits for the employees. Applications must be received by Aug. 15.

Communities will be required to create a special revenue fund for the money and send monthly payroll reports to the county’s Department of Internal Audit to ensure the money is being spent appropriately.

Of the county’s $94.4 million it initially received in CARES Act money, it has more than $54.9 million left. Allocated projects so far include $17.8 million to communities for the payroll support program, close to $15.3 million for a county payroll support program, $5.4 million for the Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program and $1 million for the Minority Contractor Capital Access Program.

Potential funding the county is considering includes a nonprofit grant program, funding for Summit County Public Health and a rental and foreclosure assistance program.

The county also plans to spend $5.6 million using CARES dollars to create a countywide distribution center for personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for government and first responder agencies. County Council approved a resolution this week authorizing the county executive to advertise for bids.

The items include hand sanitizer pumps ($47,250), hand sanitizer gallon refills ($30,000), disinfectant solution ($18,750), disinfectant wipes ($303,600), disposable gloves ($283,800), disposable masks ($420,000), N95 masks ($2.25 million), reusable cloth masks ($92,250), face shields ($120,000), safety goggles ($18,000), thermometers ($12,350) and isolation gowns ($2.016 million).


The first number is the House Bill 481 distribution; the second number is the payroll support program distribution from the county.

· Akron $8,012,136.40 / $8,012,136.60

· Barberton $1,008,319.28 / $742,378.76

· Cuyahoga Falls $1,586,275.64 / $1,402,979.68

· Fairlawn $233,304.85 / $214,524.45

· Green $501,889.74 / $734,149.72

· Hudson $499,364.29 / $634,547.05

· Macedonia $228,667.22 / $339,611.52

· Munroe Falls $158,435.66 / $144,563.40

· New Franklin $417,618.50 / $403,422.15

· Norton $419,509.93 / $342,060.30

· Stow $971,001.72 / $992,524.41

· Tallmadge $608,096.33 / $492,375.48

· Twinsburg city $271,303.83 / $542,945.62

· Bath Township $262,850.87 / $275,032.08

· Boston Township $83,450.98 / $20,330.56

· Copley Township $304,970.49 / $492,745.64

· Coventry Township $321,959.65 / $310,795.65

· Northfield Center Township $129,785.44 / $167,257.32

· Richfield Township $83,450.98 / $71,584.08

· Sagamore Hills Township $197,890.21 / $311,251.24

· Springfield Township $414,935.26 / $414,441.66

· Twinsburg Township $89,574.90 / $82,290.37

· Boston Heights $61,204.60 / $37,443.54

· Clinton $54,903.29 / $34,539.18

· Lakemore $154,529.42 / $87,728.94

· Mogadore $98,973.24 / $80,667.35

· Northfield village $121,655.91 / $104,528.71

· Peninsula $84,188.06 / $15,888.59

· Reminderville $93,169.83 / $125,001.64

· Richfield village $164,453 / $103,816.85

· Silver Lake $166,878.07 / $71,185.44