The Franklin County Commissioners had a lively discussion Tuesday morning about the use of the some $5.2 plus million CARES Act money the county is receiving, for COVID-19 relief.

Benton County has already partnered with TRIDEC in a program to administer some $3 million of their money to businesses who apply for relief. Now, Franklin County will be entering into the same kind of program. TRIDEC will help set up the process to disperse the money for businesses who apply.

However, a thorny discussion took place about a proposed $1.3 million being given to the Benton Franklin Health District.  Due to rising and additional costs from contact tracing, testing and other COVID programs, the district finds itself in need of those funds.

Commissioners Koch and Peck voted in favor of using some of the CARES Act money, but Commissioner Didier disagreed. He cited several articles and news reports concerning the signing of House Resolution 748, the CARES Act, by President Trump. Didier said nowhere in any of these reports or information is there any indication the money should be given to anyone except workers, families and businesses.

He wants all of it, aside from a few county expenditures related to CARES, to go to businesses.

Didier voted no, the other two passed the resolution, the margin being 2-1.  A number of weeks ago some reports indicated the BFHD might end up exceeding it's budget by year's end by as much as $3 million due to COVID programs and costs.

Didier had said of the approximately 2,000 businesses in the county $3 million divided up would net each business about $1,500 which would not go very far.

The six B-F commissioners make up the BFHD board.

To watch the occasionally testy Commissioner's meeting click on the button below.

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