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City spends $71,000 of virus funds

YOUNGSTOWN — The city’s board of control approved spending $71,795.59 in federal COVID-19 relief funds on equipment purchases, but that’s only a fraction of the latest money it received to help with virus-related expenses.

The board voted 3-0 Thursday on a series of smaller purchases from the $2,359,224 it received in additional COVID-19 relief funding. It already spent $2,922,024 from the first two rounds of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds.

The most expensive item Thursday was an X-ray inspection system at $22,142.82 followed by $9,067 for 10 laptops — five each for the finance department and the law department — and $9,046.76 for 14 iPads for housing code enforcement and community policing to perform inspections and work remotely.

The rest of the money was:

• $7,896 for a computer server for those working remotely,

• $7,761 for two walk-thru metal detectors and four hand scanners,

• $6,036.86 for a hands-free video intercom for the city hall front entrance,

• $4,949 for an access card reader for the police garage door to city hall,

• $4,896.15 for another computer service for those working remotely.

That leaves $2,289,426.41 left for the city to use for virus-related expenses.

The city administration expects the rest of the money to be allocated by mid-November.

The administration outlined Oct. 5 how it would spend the $2,922,024, which came from the first two rounds of CARES Act funding.

The city is spending $1,157,309.22 on police department expenses, $1,074,033.66 on fire department expenses, $456,014.65 for the health department, $77,835.94 for parks and recreation department, $77,525.44 for emergency 911 dispatch center and $59,217.23 for the finance department.

Those were percentages of expenses for each of those departments between March 15 and July 31.

Regarding the rest of the third round of CARES Act funding, the city is looking at spending money in those same six departments and is assessing expenses in the buildings, and grounds, human resources, law, public works, sanitation, water, wastewater and street departments for possible costs.

The city is also looking at additional purchases.

Largely because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s income tax collections are currently $1.99 million, or 5.6 percent, under budget. The city could end the year with about $2.5 million less in income tax than budgeted.

The city’s 2.75 percent income tax raised $46,664,000 last year and was budgeted to bring in $46,214,000 this year.

The CARES Act money has largely alleviated concerns city officials had about ending this year with a deficit, but say there could be issues next year.

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