Monday, April 15, 2024

County shifting grant funds

Local Editor | March 29, 2024 1:00 AM

WALLACE — Shoshone County Grant Administrator Colleen Rosson recently met with the Board of County Commissioners to discuss the statuses of a handful of their approved projects. 

The projects, all funded through either the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund or the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund are part of the American Rescue Plan Act, but then are administered through state and local governments. 

Among those discussed last week were one from the Mullan Volunteer Fire Department and two from the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office. 

The meeting highlighted where Shoshone County is tightening the strings on its grant funds, especially for agencies and groups outside the county’s purview. And because these grant dollars require stringent and specific documentation on the way they’re spent, the county has to ensure that every dime is being used for the purpose that was applied for. 

The Mullan Volunteer Fire Department was allocated up to $25,000 in 2022 to replace the garage doors and the generator at its aging building in Mullan, but the total of its funds would be allocated based on the quotes it received for the projects. 

Rosson explained that it was able to get the garage door project done under the budget, but because of design issues and unforeseen needs, the cost of that project is $4,000 above budget. The board approved shifting the leftover funds from the garage project to make up the difference and finish the installation of the new generator. 

The generator’s primary use will be to pump water into fire trucks, which keeps them operational in the event of some sort of power outage situation.

The generator will also power the city’s emergency operations center in the event of a mass power outage. 

The board approved the shifting of funds but also clarified that it was only doing so because there was no change to projects that were included in the original request for funds. Recently, the board denied a similar request. 

“We did turn down a request because they were asking to take their savings and apply it to a new item that had not been in the original proposal,” BOCC Chairman Dave Dose said. “We had to say no to that because we’re starting to rein these funds back in to take care of the county’s needs.” 

The SCSO had received funds to outfit its recently purchased patrol vehicles, but those projects came in $5,000 under budget. That savings will be shifted to cover the costs of wrapping the new cars with the SCSO decals that identify them. 

The final project discussed was a request for funds from Capt. Eli Lopez, who operates the Shoshone County Jail. 

Lopez, who couldn’t attend the meeting, told Rosson the jail needs two new electronic locks because the locks in place are failing, which is potentially a significant security and safety risk. 

Rosson explained to the board that Lopez has found bids for replacements, $1,425 each for refurbished locks, or brand new for $2,599 each. 

The board was concerned about the situation and expressed a desire to rectify it immediately, but would like to speak to Lopez and see his bids before it approves anything.

That meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 3, at 2 p.m.