CHESTER — Township Trustees discussed last week how best to maximize spending of remaining CARES Act funds.

Trustee Ken Radtke Jr. said at the Nov. 12 special meeting that Congress may have had good intentions in creating the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, but errored in sending billions of dollars to municipalities.

“I believe the process is flawed,” Mr. Radtke said. “With all this CARES Act funds already in our bank accounts and ‘spend it or lose it’ deadlines looming, municipalities are scrambling to find ways to spend it.”

“The current setup does not encourage or support fiscally responsible behavior and the recent opinion of [Geauga County] Prosecutor [James] Flaiz has at least enabled us to apply COVID-19 dollars to direct expenses for our emergency services and that is a direct benefit to our Chester residents,” Mr. Radtke said. “So, if a municipality does not spend the CARES funds allocated to it, the monies are returned to the [Geauga] County Auditor’s [Office] and other townships and cities in Geauga can apply for and receive those funds.”

In other business, the trustees approved a resolution of acceptance for Cares Act expenditures in the amount of $157,575 to be utilized for salaries paid for public safety positions.

The resolution was a recent change in how CARES Act dollars could be spent based upon guidance received from the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office.

Mr. Radtke said direct expenses should be tabulated, documented and submitted to the county auditor for review and use CARES Act funds to reimburse municipalities once the auditor has validated the claim.

“This is just future debt we are incurring,” Mr. Radtke said.  “I am not certain the public fully understands this, and if they did, perhaps they too would question the wisdom of Congress in implementing this current program.”

The next regular trustees meeting is Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m.

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