Woodbury County is expecting to receive $20 million. County budget manager, Dennis Butler, believes the money can be used on the new Law Enforcement Center and meet the guidelines.
“In the beginning here they said you can’t use it to directly or indirectly to reduce taxes, which is understandable,” Butler says. “But it can be used basically for anything COVID-related. This really helps us out with the jail because our increase (in prisoners) is all COVID-related totally.”
Butler says the county is getting opinions from its bonding attorney and county attorney to be sure. He says they are looking at it and they have a memo from the National Association of County Offices that says they can use the money on the jail. “But we are making sure before we use it that this is totally appropriate,” he says.
The county would have to pay back the money if it was found to not be used appropriately. The chair of the Woodbury County Supervisors, Rocky Dewitt, says they will be looking at some other uses for the money as well.
“There’ll be some going to emergency services probably to the sheriff’s office and other issues that were all related to the pandemic where we have a shortfall or other costs and expenditures,” Dewitt says.
The relief provides more than $65 billion for all the counties across the country. Counties will receive 50 percent of the funds this year and the remaining funds at least 12 months after the first payment.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)