Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor briefs commissioners on grants, concerns, and possible new business during the August 20 County Commission meeting. Photo by Meg Dickens.
By Meg Dickens
Johnson County is one of many areas receiving funding to boost the economy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. The county discussed this grant during its June meeting and set aside some of the money to prevent raising taxes for the upcoming year. The check came in this month, and County Mayor Mike Taylor found out the good news a few weeks prior. Johnson County received a boosted $799,890 instead of the expected $637,865, which equals an approximately $162,000 increase.
“There was a long conversation when the legislators went back into session,” Mayor Taylor explained. “Some of our state legislators weren’t happy that Shelby County and Davidson County were getting like $10 million. So they cut them back $5 million each and took that money and redistributed it through the other counties, like ours.”
The United States Government distributes funding through the CARES Act based on census count. According to Mayor Taylor, the funding is directly linked to the census. During the June commission meeting, he explained that each uncompleted census costs the county roughly $1,100 in funding.
“The census count is pretty important, so be asking your neighbors and folks you’re going to church with if they’re doing their census,” Mayor Taylor urged. “Because these monies, when they divvy that out, that’s usually the way they do it.”
Johnson County also qualifies for $266,670 in Ten CARES Act funding, which is directly related to the census as well. These funds can only be used on COVID-19 related expenses such as cleaning supplies, safety precautions, salaries, and quarantine and working from home costs.Johnson County Purchasing Agent Dustin Shearin is keeping a list of COVID-19 related costs for their reference.
According to Mayor Taylor, the county bought a couple of disinfectant fogger machines from the funding. Shearin partners with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to sanitize buildings after discovering COVID-19 cases. So far officials have fogged the Johnson County Courthouse twice, the Election Commission building, and the Johnson County Senior Center, according to Shearin and Taylor. Two machines and a bottle of solution is approximately $800 in comparison to hiring a service, which costs anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000. Taylor described the purchase as “pretty cost-effective.”
The Johnson County Commission meets in the upper courtroom of the Johnson County Courthouse on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. For more information, visit johnsoncountytn.gov.