The Douglas County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to make changes to the county price range and allotted funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to psychological well being initiatives.
When the county’s 2021/2022 price range was permitted, $2.1 million have been allotted for wage changes to county workers. On Tuesday, the board permitted one other $1.7 million, bringing the full to $3.8 million.
Douglas County Finance Director Joe Lorenz mentioned market calls for within the fall led to elevated pay charges for many workers on the Douglas County Well being Middle and Group Psychological Well being Middle.
Many departments wanted one-time changes. The county will want one other $345,000 for public properties due to the rise in fuel costs. Environmental Companies was allotted one other $5 million, however Lorenz mentioned that may principally be offset by income from the contaminated soil program.
County administration acquired one other $3.3 million from the federal Emergency Rental Help program, transferred from the state to the county. Lorenz mentioned the extra cash ought to final by way of September when this system expires. The county expects one other $8 million from the second spherical of the ERA program, which might fund it by way of 2025.
Gov. Pete Ricketts has mentioned he is not going to request a second spherical of funding for the state, saying it will make Nebraska a “welfare state.” The Legislature handed a invoice Wednesday to require that Nebraska settle for the $120 million, however it lacks the votes to keep away from a veto. The deadline for the state to use is March 31.
The board additionally permitted elevated premium pay for a lot of county workers, funded by transferring practically $7.7 million from the county’s ARPA account to numerous departments.
“We made a alternative to make use of a few of the ARPA cash that we acquired for premium pay for folks in public well being and public security,” Lorenz mentioned.
About $3 million went to the well being division, and the remainder went to public security and communications. Lorenz mentioned the premium pay is just sustainable because of ARPA, and it will require one other funding supply to proceed after funds expire. The quantity may enhance sooner or later relying on how a lot time beyond regulation county workers work.
The board additionally allotted ARPA funding to numerous psychological well being tasks. The board beforehand permitted $17.5 million for every commissioner to resolve on proposals. Board Chair Mary Ann Borgeson spent $500,000 of her allocation to fund psychological well being initiatives at Millard Public Faculties.
Millard Director of Scholar Companies Invoice Jelkin mentioned the cash would assist deliver companies on to college students and supply coaching for employees. Jelkin mentioned they’ve seen a drastic rise in scholar psychological well being issues due to the pandemic, particularly for low-income college students.
“The necessity was there previous to COVID,” Borgeson mentioned. “However everyone knows that COVID exacerbated a complete bunch of issues.”
Borgeson additionally moved for $60,000 to be allotted to the Volunteer Legal professionals Challenge to offer authorized help to folks with degenerative psychological well being diagnoses.
Commissioner Mike Pal spent $1.3 million of his allocation Tuesday, together with $800,000 to Ronald McDonald Home to fund a brand new remedy middle in Omaha. The state well being division will work with the middle to analysis social determinants of well being and measure well being outcomes of individuals assisted by this system.
“They arrive to Omaha as a result of they’re that critically ailing and our medical neighborhood can assist that,” CEO Lindsey Rai Kortan mentioned. “We are available on the hope and therapeutic aspect with some very intentional packages which can be affecting how their social determinants of well being for all the household can affect that analysis.”