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Meeting over funding

Polk officials, republicans, democrats to discuss American Rescue Act requirements

COLUMBUS—Polk County officials agreed last week to meet with the local republican and democrat parties to discuss possible requirements to the American Rescue Act funding, which was given to counties for COVID-19 relief. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met last week and heard from Polk County Republican Party Chair Lee Emerson during citizen comments. Emerson said the rescue act is 247 pages long and he doubts many have read the requirements, but there are “heavy strings attached to this money.” 

Polk County received about $4 million in COVID relief funding. 

“It looks like this act will mandate all the employees and all your subcontractors to take vaccines,” Emerson said. “The language in here is a Trojan horse.” 

He said they can also use the funds to buy out small businesses, saying in his opinion it is a communist takeover and they are destroying our country. 

“I really don’t see why we are taking money just because it’s there,” Emerson said. “That is not in line with what this county stands for.”

He also said anyone who thinks what he is saying is a conspiracy theory has not read this act. 

He asks commissioners to put the spending on hold for 30 days until they did some research. 

Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said the $4 million that the county has received has already been budgeted. 

Commissioner chair Tommy Melton suggested that he, the vice-chair, the county manager and the county attorney sit down with Emerson to discuss the act. 

“I appreciate you bringing it to our attention,” Melton said. 

County attorney Jana Berg suggested inviting the chair of the democrat party to the meeting as well. 

Commissioners agreed, with Melton saying he wanted complete transparency.