Complete List of Lawrence County's CARES Act Disbursal Released
LAWRENCE COUNTY -(February 18, 2022) - The Lawrence County Zephyr was contacted by several Lawrence County volunteer fire departments, who were refused both in CARES Act Funding, and American Rescue Plan Funds.
Lawrence County received at total of $1.4 Million in CARES Act Funding.
Local volunteer fire department did not receive any CARES Act Funds and was told they cannot access any American Rescue Funds by Lawrence County Commissioners
The Lawrence County Commissioners did not want to dispense any funds to the local volunteer fire departments even though those departments were on the front lines of responding to COVID related emergencies.
A committee of three people Eugene McCracken, Valarie Luchuaer, and Jody Edwards were to meet and decide who, what, where the COVID-19 Funds were to be disbursed. The committee never met, and there are no records of minutes of any meetings of the local officials deciding on where the funds are to be directed to.
The committee meetings do not fall under the direction of Indiana's public access law.
Several non-profits school corporations received CARES Act Funds from the Lawrence County Commissioners. However, the county volunteer fire department, only one fire department received $139
Many of the school corporations, non-profits, and other organizations that received the money from the Lawrence County Commissioners already received COVID related grants from the federal government. North Lawrence and Mitchell Community Schools receiving several million dollars in funding and did not really need the funds.
Marion Township request for CARES - Act funds were denied by Lawrence County Commissioners.
The Marion Township Volunteer Fire Department responded to 813 EMS calls from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, with a total of 209 Confirmed COVID -19 incidents.
EMS responders from the fire department had 19 of its 36 firefighters quarantined more than twice due to exposure.
The Lawrence County Commissioners and Emergency Management Director Valarie Luchuaer were concerned that other fire departments would be requesting funds. Marion Township put in a request for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus which fell under the guidelines for COVID relief guidelines. In addition, there were occasions where the SCBA were needed during a COVID emergency. COVID -19 is a respiratory disease.
The commissioners and emergency management director told Marion Township those funds would be directed to paying county employee stipends instead of being directed to the fire department.
Many of the county employees were not in their offices including the Assessor's Office which was closed to the public during the COVID- pandemic.
The Lawrence County Zephyr has since obtained records of where the CARES - Act Money was disbursed. There was a total of 30 organizations given CARES - Act money.
The Lawrence County Emergency Management agency received $164,000, Seals and Priority Ambulance which was the same company received $36,000, Lawrence County Sheriff's Department received a total of $241,000 in funds. However only one volunteer fire department received $139, and IU Lifeline Ambulance Service did not receive any CARES -Act Funds from the county.
Located at 1416 James Avenue Bedford Indiana
There is $369,000 that may have to be returned to the federal government or county general fund because it was not spent in a timely manner. Lawrence County EMA director appeared during a Lawrence County Council meeting cautioning the Lawrence County Council on spending $200,000 on a fourth courtroom to be constructed at the Lawrence County Courthouse Plaza.
EMA director Valarie Luchuaer also stated there were other obligations that the CARES Act money would be needed for, and this request would deplete those funds. However, Luchuaer never returned to direct the remaining $369,000.
Lawrence County Commissioners Wally Branham, Rodney Fish, and Dustin Gabhart
Lawrence County Judge Nathan Nikirk obtained $100,000 grant for the project and $200,000 from the CARES- ACT money. The council decided not to spend the $200,00
towards the construction project. Judge Nathan's Nikirk grant had to be used in a specified time and was also lost during this period of time.
LAWRENCE COUNTY CARES - ACT MONEY
Bono Township Trustee - $58
Lawrence County Solid Waste District - $ 29,195.39
Lawrence County Highway - $27,273,95
Health - $32,293
Lawrence County Superior Court - $23,076.88
Lawrence County Probation - $4,462.37
Lawrence County Sheriff - $2,584.06
Lawrence County Emergency Management - $164,468.39
Lawrence County Clerk - $559.50
Lawrence County Community Corrections - $6,503.19
St. Vincent De Paul Schools - $17,404
Mitchell Community Schools - $63,228.95
Bedford North Lawrence High School - $36,426.81
North Lawrence Community Schools - $44,654.34
Bedford Public Library - $779.47
Keisler Police Supply - $21,310
Priority Ambulance ( Seals Ambulance Service) -$11,180
Seals Ambulance Service - $25,003.57
Hoosier Uplands - $14,881.38
Tek Print and Promotions - $620.98
Lawrence County Public Defender - $227.95
Lawrence County Assessor - $3,434.36
Mitchell Public Library - $16,438.89
Lawrence County Treasurer - $60,717
AT&T - $288.55
Security Pro - 24/7 - $13,000
John Jones Chrysler - $148,805 (Lawrence County Sheriff's Departmet)
Command Sourcing - $35,806
The Lawrence County Zephyr will continue to monitor developments. For breaking news, news and information contact subscribe to the lczephyr.org