County has 7% of CARES Act funds remaining

LIHU‘E — The county has spent around 93% of its $28.7 million received from the state through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds.

That’s according to the most recent report from the county to the state, dated April 9. The county has a balance of $1,957,211 remaining. The latest round of spending covering calendar March included expenditures for payroll and marketing.

“The intent is to use the remaining funds for public-safety costs,” said Nicholas Courson, county project manager and compliance officer. “Those costs are primarily personnel costs, but may also include other costs related to public safety, such as personal protective equipment and public-awareness media-campaign costs.”

Of the remaining funds, about $1.1 million is budgeted for the public safety sector, which was allocated $6.5 million overall.

“Our personnel has various operational checkpoints in the beginning (of the pandemic, and) a whole staff at the airport for a long period of time,” Kaua‘i Police Department Assistant Chief Bryan Ponce said during last week’s Police Commission meeting. KPD Chief Raybuck attended a leadership conference in Virginia.

Ponce, who is acting chief during Raybuck’s five-day suspension, said the department also spent money on personal protective equipment, sanitation stations and transport vehicles.

KPD spent about $846,518 on equipment, including two KPD isolation vehicles equipped with radio, partitions and window barriers, valued at $145,971.

There were also about $524,877 in funds for 107 portable radios assigned to the Hawai‘i National Guard and other staff, in addition to about $5,585 in checkpoint supplies.

The KPD Patrol Services Bureau’s workspace was also remodeled to accommodate 24/7 work operations to meet social distancing and other U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, according to the report.

This remodel cost about $139,328. KPD also set up two outdoor tables and seating for customers waiting assistance in the headquarters’ breezeway.

The largest-ticket item for public safety, however, is for pay for periods between March 1, 2020 and Jan. 15, 2021, which comes to about $1,974,642, including fringe benefits.

The CARES funds remaining balance hasn’t changed much since the end of February, when it was $1,960,468. Between January and February, the county had canceled a contract due to a several-month delay on the vendor’s side, Courson said in a March 10 memo.

“You may notice that the encumbrance in the Public Safety category has decreased, and correspondingly the budget balance has increased,” Courson said in the memo.

In the meantime, Courson said, the county acquired personal protective equipment from another source before canceling that contract.

The county has until the end of December this year to expend the remaining money.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

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