Lawrence County plans to seek approximately $614,000 in reimbursement from the funds designated for cities and counties by the Arkansas CARES Act Committee.

County Judge John Thomison recently attended a meeting in Little Rock and reported that payroll reimbursement for emergency personnel, jailers, dispatchers and other specific positions will provide the most efficient avenue for the county to receive the CARES funds.

The county is eligible for up to $677,000 in reimbursements, and Thomison said additional requests can be filed.

“We have $614,105 we are ready to apply for,” he said.

Because the money is a reimbursement for funds already spent, there will be no restriction on how the money received is spent.

Justices approved an ordinance at Monday night’s Quroum Court meeting to establish the coronavirus relief fund as a sub fund of county general. Any reimbursement received from the state through the CARES Act will be placed in that fund and will not be included in the county’s budget.

“It does not need to be included in anticipated revenue,” Justice Alex Latham said.

Thomison agreed saying, “It’s not revenue. This is a one-time deal.”

Budget Committee Chair Junior Briner said the committee will meet later this month after revenue projections are finalized by County Treasurer Connie Mullen.

“Revenue projection is always the moving part,” Judge Thomison said. “This year is even worse than usual.”

Briner said they will err on the side of caution.

“We definitely do not want to over project on revenue,” he said.

Justices also heard an update from Alison Johnson with the Lawrence County Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Coalition. She shared challenges the county is facing with youth use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, especially prescription medication.

She also told justices about different programs and resources the coalition has for prevention efforts in the county and items the group has available for residents, such as lock bags for medication and timer caps for medication bottles.

“These caps can help you know if you took your meds or if someone else has gotten into your medication bottle.”

Johnson said the drug take back day, which is slated for Oct. 24, is an important component in the coalition’s effort to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs. Last October, approximately 27,000 pounds of medication was collected in Arkansas.

“This is a big thing we are doing in Arkansas to try to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands,” Johnson said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the court approved the appointment of Carolyn Rorex of Imboden to the Lawrence County Library Board. She replaces Rebecca Jones of Imboden, who stepped down from the board at the completion of her term.

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