Roanoke County plans to spend 30% of its federal coronavirus relief funding on facility improvements to improve social distancing and public health needs.
The county received $8.2 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, legislation intended to assist local and state governments with expenses that arose due to the pandemic and mandated closures. The grant can be used only for expenses incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30.
Finance staff members presented a working budget for the funding to the board of supervisors on Tuesday. They have allocated $600,000 to improvements for enhanced air circulation in county buildings and $539,000 to relocate the employee health clinic to its own building.
The board of supervisors voted earlier this month to execute a two-year lease agreement for 2741 Penn Forest Blvd., a 2,125-square-foot building that will more than quadruple the size of the health clinic. The lease will cost $2,611.98 per month and will be paid through the general services operating budget.
The CARES Act funding would pay to renovate the space into a health clinic and purchase the building for $345,000.
The clinic, as well as the administration building, closed to in-person appointments to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. County officials said relocating the clinic will limit the number of visits to the administration building and provide more sufficient space for doctor’s office visits and wellness programs. Additionally, limiting foot traffic in the administration building would assist the county in safely reopening, which began June 15.
Facility improvements also will be made to the third floor of the administration center, which previously housed the clinic.
The voting registrar’s satellite offices at the Craig Center and the Brambleton Center will receive improvements to promote social distancing, a total of $244,000.
The commonwealth’s attorney’s office, the court services counter, the libraries and various other county offices will be reconfigured or modified to promote social distancing and safety, a total of about $580,000.
The county also plans to use $680,000 of the funding for network infrastructure, licensing and equipment for teleworking. And $320,000 will go toward a contract for the schools to provide internet hot spots for distance learning through the end of the year.
The county’s social services department will use $450,000 to set up a mortgage and rent relief program for citizens who have fallen behind on payments.
And the police department will receive $65,000 for a prisoner transport vehicle that includes an isolated pod to allow officers to be physically separated from the individual.
Assistant County Administrator Rebecca Owens said the budget for the CARES funding is based on estimates for each project. If some items come in under budget, the county would be able to reallocate the money for other uses that fall within the guidelines.