KINGMAN – Mohave County Supervisors are questioning whether small fire districts are being adequately supported by CARES Act money.
Hildy Angius of District 2 called for money for personal protection equipment for local fire districts in unincorporated areas like Golden Valley, Pine Lake and Yucca that are not being supported by cities.
The item was placed on the agenda by Supervisor Ron Gould of District 5. The amounts requested by the local fire districts were less than $20,000 per district.
Angius asked if the county couldn’t share some of the $9.1 million it received last year from the CARES Act to combat covid-19 in Mohave County. She said, in her opinion, that’s why the county received the money.
Mohave County Manager Sam Elters said the federal money was to cover public safety (the sheriff’s office) and public health (the department of public health) salaries up to the end of 2020.
But it’s a “shell game,” Angius pointed out, since the salaries were previously budgeted and the money went to the county’s general fund.
Elters didn’t respond to the “shell game” comment. Instead, he said the county could assist those small fire districts in obtaining the funds for personal protective equipment by applying for reimbursement somewhere else.
The board decided to investigate the matter further and, per Angius’ request, bring it back in front of the board within 30 days.
According to Mohave County Financial Services Director Coral Loyd, the county received $9.1 million from the AZ Cares Fund solely for public health and public safety payroll expenses.
The new influx of cash helped free up general fund dollars, she said, reducing property tax rate by nearly 5 cents per $100 of assessed value, providing body cameras for the sheriff’s department and adding staff in the county attorney’s office.