Salem using state relief funds to replenish unbudgeted money used to fight pandemic


The city is expecting about $125,000 to come sometime this week

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio Statehouse passed House Bill 481 to send relief funds to local governments as of June 11. The money coming in will be used to help with recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of Salem is looking to receive about $125,000 and expects to see the money sometime this week. The city plans to use it to replenish the money that was used for the pandemic.

“These are items that were, obviously, unbudgeted. We didn’t budget for a pandemic. Obviously, no one would have,” said Salem City Auditor Betty Brothers.

Two of the larger costs were to help the fire department. Even though two ambulance companies work out of Salem, they were trying to prepare in case they got flooded with calls.

“They did [a] fairly well job of keeping up. We only transported when the privates were not available,” said Salem Fire Chief Scott Mason.

Only needing to transport about 14 times. Still, just going onto calls has helped keep down the use of the trucks.

“The engine usually goes out around 1,400 times a year for medicals, so it’s wear and tear on the engine,” Chief Mason said.

So, an ambulance saves money on general maintenance.

The fire department also got a device to clean the N-95 masks, reusing them to get more life out of them.

“We would use the mask one time and throw it away. But with the use of the machine, we would come back, sterilize it. So we can use it up to 20 times,” Chief Mason said.

Giving each mask a lifespan of over one week.

The city is also using money for anyone who is working from home.

“It’s just the ability for them to work at home. If they didn’t have a laptop, a laptop was purchased,” Brothers said.

Plus, all the standard PPEs were also part of the expenses.

While the city has spent over $10,000 in coronavirus funding, the extra money does help, even though they felt as if they would have gotten by without it.

“It would have taken away from what the money was budgeted for originally,” Brothers said.

Any money the city doesn’t use by Dec. 30 will be returned to the county.

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