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Panel backs using extra CARES cash for firefighters’ OT

The Salem Finance Committee Monday night forwarded several items to city council, including the use of additional coronavirus-related funds for the fire department.

The committee agreed to forward a resolution to use CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funds for fire department wages and benefits.

Auditor Betty Brothers said the additional $68,000 in CARES Act funds came from those not used by other townships and municipalities across the state before the Nov. 20 deadline. She said the money will be used to help pay for overtime expenses created by the pandemic, such as firefighters covering shifts for those who are quarantined or off sick.

In other business, the committee agreed to forward appropriation reductions of $86,785 within the street construction M&R fund, $10,773 within the street highway fund, $11,550 within the mun permissive license fund, $32,363.30 within the municipal event fund, $635,000 within the income tax fund, $35,000 within the health department fund and over $2.8 million in the waste water revenue fund (for capital outlay construction project).

Brothers said the reductions are mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in more people staying home and higher amounts of overtime to cover for quarantined employees.

The committee also agreed to forward additional appropriations of $51,199.90 within the general fund, including $45,000 for wages and overtime for fire department personnel; $5,000 within the housing inspectors fund for possible higher costs in demolishing homes with garages; $20,000 for the health fund due to overtime and part-time wages for COVID-19 contact tracing; $68,410.16 within the coronavirus relief fund; $1,800 within accrued personal benefits; and $18,227.50 within the developers agency fund.

Brothers said the city is required to have a balance year-end budget with expenditures not exceeding revenue.

Additionally the committee agreed to forward two resolutions to sell two city vehicles, as well as miscellaneous items for the fire department.

Brothers said the two vehicles — a 2004 Taurus and a 2015 Taurus — were used by the school resource officer and housing inspector and became unnecessary when the city received its two new police cruisers purchased this year. They will be sold on govdeals.com with a reserved price and can be re-posted if the reserve is not met.

The miscellaneous fire department equipment includes radio chargers and a turnout gear washer. Brothers said the radios have been upgraded and a new washer purchased through a grant.

City council meets at 7 p.m. tonight via Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/99120084548?pwd=OWhUR3AvTWw0eUk2NzhYRU5DWnJPUT09).

khowell@salemnews.net

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