Cares Act Money

Background
In late March, the Federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a stimulus bill meant to keep the economy moving during the economic slowdown caused by measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. From individual citizens to state and local governments to businesses and industries, resources were allocated for all levels of the economy. Through this bill, the Commonwealth of Virginia provided Pittsylvania County two separate allocations of over $5.2 million, which can be used for expenses that:
  • Were not originally in the budget
  • Can be directly tied to COVID-19
  • Occurred between March and December

Pittsylvania County was responsible for providing some of these funds to each of the three towns inside its borders, based on their population. In total, the three towns received:

  • Chatham: $250,920
  • Gretna: $210,264
  • Hurt: $215,324

To ensure that these funds are being used correctly and in an efficient manner, Pittsylvania County arranged a system for deciding where the funds go. Individual departments submitted applications, which would go before the CRF Committee, who would make recommendations to the Pittsylvania County executive team – composed of County Administrator David Smitherman, Attorney Vaden Hunt, Finance Director Kim Vanderhyde, and Assistant County Administrator Richard Hicks.

Any applications for more than $100,000 required approval from the Board of Supervisors, and each of those that were approved are listed below. Click here to see the master list of how the funds have been allocated so far.

Public Safety
Funding passed down through the CARES Act was meant to help the entire country respond to COVID-19, and for localities like Pittsylvania County, public safety is a major part of that. Roughly a fourth of the $10.5 million that Pittsylvania County received went toward bolstering our public safety system with allocations such as:
  • Up to $1.1 million for the purchase of as many as five ambulances to be split between volunteer agencies and Pittsylvania County Public Safety. These ambulances will be provided to Chatham Rescue Squad, Public Safety staff in Chatham, Mt. Hermon Rescue Squad and County Public Safety staff at Mt. Hermon, Brosville Rescue Squad, and Callands Rescue Squad. 
  • $500,000 for the construction of a new EMS station in Hurt
  • $200,000 to the Pittsylvania-Danville Health Department for a COVID-19 drive-thru testing event in June, which was free to the citizens who attended. 
  • $175,000 for Project 25 Communications System so that Danville Life Saving Crew, which operates in the southern end of Pittsylvania County, would have better radio communication with county fire and rescue, as well as the Sheriff’s Office.
  • $160,000 for a new defibrillator.
Project Manager and Improvements to Infrastructure and Service
In addition to making a wide range of short-term investments into things like personal protection equipment, Pittsylvania County has also utilized CARES Act money to hire a project manager to oversee several renovations and construction projects, including:
  • Converting an old county building into a modern elections center that can also be utilized for things like COVID-19 testing and an emergency shelter. ($500,000)
  • Constructing an EMS station in Hurt for two county ambulances and staff to improve response time and access to U.S. 29 ($500,000)
  • Completing facilities upgrades and installation of touchless fixtures, including sinks and toilets, throughout Pittsylvania County buildings and fire and rescue stations to reduce employee exposure to COVID-19. ($363,000)
  • Creating a modern meeting center that will allow every county board and commission to meet with appropriate social distancing for board members and the audience and have the needed technology to stream the meetings online. ($200,000)
Education

Pittsylvania County Schools received its own allocation of roughly $1.9 million through the CARES Act, but Pittsylvania County has also allocated over $2.5 million to help our public-school system provide effective distance learning and protect students when they return to class.

  • Over $1.9 million for the purchase of 6,000 Chromebooks to be utilized by students working from home.
  • $450,000 for the purchase of bipolar ionization air scrubber units to be put in several county schools. These systems will help kill germs in the air and on surfaces in the schools.
  • Just over $200,000 for the purchase of 1,000 of internet hotspots with filtering and four months of service, which will allow students who do not have internet access at their home to still learn virtually.
Service Improvements and Miscellaneous
During the state-mandated restrictions, many of our local government offices were closed. Even still, many are open by appointment only due to limited space. To better accommodate citizens and provide additional services to help during the pandemic, funds were allocated for projects such as: 
  • $227,400 for the purchase of ESRI, a geographic information system that will allow Pittsylvania County staff and citizens to utilize a wide range of features. This system could be used for tracking cases of COVID-19 and to put out a public-facing map showing where tests are available, among other things.
  • $150,000 toward scholarships to Danville Community College for up to 200 Pittsylvania County students. The DCC Educational is matching the contribution with an additional $150,000 for the scholarships, which are for the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • $100,000 through the department of Social Services to be distributed to citizens experiencing past-due electrical service. Nearly 900 applications have been received with a total amount well over the $100,000 requested.
  • Just under $99,000 for COVID safety kits for citizens, which were distributed in August