The Columbus Dispatch quoted Amista Lipot, executive director of the Mayors’ Partnership for Progress at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, in a recent article about communities’ use of CARES Act funds to support social services.
The Mayors’ Partnership for Progress is a coalition of mayors and city managers from 18 Appalachian Ohio counties. They are provided organizational and technical support through Ohio University’s Voinovich School.
Ohio received $1.2 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which the state distributed to local governments. In the article, “CARES for the Children,” reporter Sheridan Hendrix explains how the city of Zanesville used its CARES Act funding to support residents. Zanesville initially received about $900,000 through CARES. Mayor Don Mason thought the funds could be spent only on items related to health and safety, such as facemasks, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment. But after purchasing those items, Zanesville had nearly $600,000 left to spend. In talking with fellow MPP members, though, he learned that funds could be used on other initiatives to help the community.
“If you think about it, there are a lot of ways that you need to support your community during this pandemic,” Lipot is quoted in the article. “What does your community need? What do your constituents need? If you stop and think about that, it opens up a whole new world.”
Among other initiatives, Zanesville purchased computers and improved Wi-Fi access for online learning, supported food programs and helped day care centers comply with COVID-19 regulations so parents could get back to work.