Culpeper County may soon be dolling out $730,000 to parents who have suffered financially due to increased childcare requirements amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Such payments have been the subject of ongoing discussions amongst county supervisors. On Nov. 10, the Rules Committee consisting of three supervisors recommended that such payments are made available to parents of students in grades K-6.
While previous discussions centered around setting aside $365,000 to aid parents, the committee recommended doubling that amount to ensure it provides noticeable relief.
Such payments are possible courtesy of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities Act grant funding. While that money cannot be used to make direct payments to citizens, the county directed about $360,000 of its second round of CARES funds to pay salaries of public health and safety officials.
The supervisors disbursed that money to first responders despite County Administrator John Egertson’s recommendation that it go to the school system. Doing so effectively freed up money in the county’s budget.
In total, the CARES Act grants have saved the county about $3 million in public safety payroll expenses.
Since the county cannot disburse money to citizens, the committee recommended using the Human Services Department as a middleman in charge of cutting the checks.
While applicants will have to prove they have been financially impacted by increased childcare requirements, Supervisor Tom Underwood noted that some citizens may not be able to do so if they are self-employed.
Underwood said that perhaps the county should not aggressively ensure that those requirements are met. Hopefully, he said, parents who have not had increased childcare needs will “have the honor and pride not to apply.” Supervisor Paul Bates expressed concerns about writing such “a blank check.”
Underwood said the county needs to move quickly on the matter because “the pain’s being felt” and he would like the supervisors to approve the payments in December.