YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Commissioners continue to use money set aside during the COVID-19 pandemic to ease the burden on the county’s general fund budget.

As part of the American Rescue Plan, counties like Mahoning were able to set aside $10 million to replace funds lost in other areas.

Thursday, commissioners transferred more than $1.3 million of that to offset cuts in other state or federal funding for community development.

“We’ve funded all the projects the last three years by moving some of the general fund money into the community development block grant pool to be able to backfill that and to give the programs and the projects that every community applied for,” said Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler.

Over the last three years, Rescue Plan funds have also been used to support local community agencies with food distributions, rental assistance and other programs.

Mahoning County fire departments will also be getting help to attract more workers for their ambulance fleets.

Commissioners are providing $400,000 to the county’s Fire Chiefs’ Association. The money will enable local departments to cover the costs of sending new recruits to EMT and paramedic training.

Mahoning County Emergency Management Director Andy Frost said it will allow departments to expand EMS services in their communities.

“We had people that don’t want to be in the field and they were leaving the field because of COvID. We are just trying to bolster these numbers again, and I believe we’re going to have great success with it,” Frost said.

Money for the scholarships will come from the county’s remaining share of American Rescue Plan funds.