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Joyce meets West Virginia officials to discuss COVID funding

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce met Friday with state officials about the city’s efforts to have payroll costs reimbursed for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brian Abraham, chief legal counsel for Gov. Jim Justice, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeff Sandy, a former Wood County sheriff, came to Parkersburg to discuss the application for funding from the federal C.A.R.E.S. Act.

The city sought reimbursement for more than $133,000 in expenses, all but $1,592.96 of which was for payroll, covering activities like cleaning, training and police and fire response to calls. They had to treat those calls as potential COVID-related responses, Finance Director Eric Jiles said.

The payroll requests were rejected, with state officials saying they were not reimbursable under current guidelines.

Joyce said he appreciated Justice’s quick response.

“While we are awaiting specific guidance and language from the governor’s office, I am encouraged that we will soon receive reimbursement for qualified payroll expenses, specifically police and fire personnel and related benefit costs,” the mayor said.

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