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TAZEWELL, Va. — Tazewell County has started dispersing funding from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act with towns sharing almost $98,000 and the county receiving $152,000.

The Board of Supervisors announced the start of the $550,000 initial allocation Tuesday as part of the $3.5 million the county will receive as its share of the $3.1 billion the state was awarded from the act.

“Tazewell County’s first priority is the health and well-being of its communities, which is why this initial funding is so important,” said County Administrator Eric Young. “This money allocated to our towns will not only help them financially recoup their recent investments in the fight against this invisible enemy but will also help create a stockpile in preparation for any future outbreaks.”

The grant may be used to cover expenses such as personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers, extra cleaning supplies, disinfection of public buildings and overtime for public safety, medical and other personal substantially dedicated to mitigating the COVID-19 crisis, he added.

The board’s first round of distribution to towns, $97,500, was an initial payment for critical needs based on the relative population of towns.

Its distribution follows:

• Bluefield - $30,000

• Cedar Bluff - $7,500

• Pocahontas - $2,500

• Richlands - $32,500

• Tazewell - $25,000

Young said the board at its June 25 meeting voted to allocate $550,000 of funding as soon as possible and appointed committees to advise the board regarding allocating the remaining $3 million later in the fall, as the progression of the disease is better understood.

“Right now we have the luxury of taking our time to decide how to best spend the remaining funds to protect our people and preserve our economy,” he said. “You will see those appropriations unfold in the weeks ahead.”

A second round of $550,000 worth of funding is scheduled for the week of July 13.

Under the CARES Act, half of the $3.1 billion the state received is for localities with fewer than 500,000 people. Amounts paid to local governments were based on population, resulting in Tazewell County receiving just over $3.5 million.

Young said U.S. Treasury guidelines do not allow funding to be used to fill shortfalls in government revenue.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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