Spotsylvania County has pocketed $11.9 million allocated through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a federal fund aimed at helping localities contend with expenses related to COVID-19.

But the county hasn’t determined how to distribute the funds.

During a public hearing last week, Deputy County Administrator Bonnie Jewell told the Board of Supervisors that staff is gathering information on pandemic costs and how to use the funds.

She asked the board to set the funds in a holding account until a plan is developed, which the supervisors approved. No residents spoke during the public hearing.

Supervisor Deborah Frazier asked staff to look into how many county residents became homeless because of the pandemic.

The county has been preparing and adjusting its budget since the pandemic hit.

The board held back on appropriating its entire fiscal 2021 budget as county officials expect a drop in tax revenue and other potential impacts. The board approved holding back $5 million from the $149.9 million general fund and $15.7 million from the school system’s $300.2 million operating budget.

Jewell told supervisors in May that the county likely will address appropriating the rest of the funds around the middle of the fiscal year, giving staff time to determine “what is truly happening to our revenues as a result of the pandemic.”

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, supervisors approved a new process that is supposed to shorten the time it takes residents to receive refunds for winning real estate assessment disputes.

The new process is supposed to cut the process from an average of eight weeks to—potentially—three weeks.

Residents filed an unusually high number of disputes on real estate assessments earlier this year, with many claiming the assessed values spiked too much for no good reason.

The average value of a home in the county after this year’s assessment was $284,500, an increase of 9.8 percent compared with last year.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

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