EATON — The Preble County Board of Commissioners discussed CARES Act funding regarding nonprofits during their meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
“I think you all received an email regarding nonprofits being supported by the CARES Act, and so I wanted to bring it up because we talked about it, geez, I don’t even know, six weeks ago, and I think [County Commissioners Association of Ohio] had either advised against it or there was some gray area,” Commissioner Rodney Creech said. “I don’t know where we’re at on that.”
He said that some counties have opened funding up to nonprofits while others have not, and that his initial concern was that the county would fall short on the necessary funding.
“I wanted to open it back up to see where we were at on nonprofits,” Creech said. “If the gray area has become black and we can we can do it, I think we need to do it. I’ve been sharing the concerns that we’ve had all along that if this is not done correctly, and we get audited, the county has to pay it back”
Commissioner Denise Robertson then asked if Preble County Auditor Lavon Wright had looked into what the rules were regarding nonprofits.
“What we’re finding is there aren’t a whole lot of rules to follow out there, and anytime we ask questions on certain things that we’re thinking about, the basic response that we get is as long as we can justify it as being a COVID-19 related expense,” Commission Clerk Kim Keller said.
“I know there was some question,” Creech said. “I guess I’m just trying to – if we can do it, I think we should do it.”
Commissioner Chris Day then added that he received an email from CCAO Senior Policy Analyst Jon Honeck where the title of the email sounded promising in regards to legislators working to solve this issue.
“[Jon’s] concern, along with ours, is we don’t want to do something and have to go back and redo it,” Day said. “But I think the legislators are understanding the limitations and the challenges. So at this point, not a lot has changed.”
Day added that it will be important for the businesses to define what was budgeted for and how that can be supported with documentation.
“I’m all for supporting that,” he said. “But I just spent most of the afternoon yesterday trying to see where we’re at on some of these, especially on the businesses, and I think what you find is some people are willing to give the documentation up, some aren’t, but we’ve got to have documentation of where they’ve had expenditures to prove that.”
Robertson then agreed with Creech, saying that if they can within the rules then they should.
“Rather than wait to hear from CCAO, let’s contact Greene County or Montgomery County and ask them how they’re doing,” Creech said. “If Montgomery County is sticking their neck out with millions of dollars, I don’t see why we can’t stick our neck out for 10s of thousands. I mean, it’s got to be done correctly or they wouldn’t do it.”
After some further discussion about what the criteria might be for nonprofits, the commissioners agreed to create a new resolution that will be voted on at a later date.
“I mean, we can make a decision and have the resolution drawn up and the word can get out,” Robertson said. “Just because we haven’t approved the resolution doesn’t mean that that’s not our intention. We are intending on proving resolution as soon as I talk to Lavon. I don’t see a problem with it as long as the documentation is there.”
The Preble County Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles