Federal COVID-19 funds sparks debate in Livingston County

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LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – To take federal COVID-19 relief money or not. That’s the decision in front of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners.

$1.5 million has been approved by the state to go to the county’s health department, but the board is split on what to do.

At tonight’s Livingston County Health and Human Services Committee meeting, it was speaker after speaker during the public comment portion.

“The minute you take it state funding or federal funding you know there are strings attached,” one Livingston county resident said.

Many of them were against taking the federal aid.

“We are not in a pandemic in Livingston county. Do not accept the funds. We don’t need them,” one resident said.

The money is being awarded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to fund vaccines, testing and contact tracing.

Some say the money comes with a hidden price tag they do not want to pay.

“It flows with earmarks and agendas into schools, municipalities and government agencies with strings attached,” one resident said.

While others supporting it say the county needs this to fight the virus.

“COVID is very real. I’m in the health care field and see it every day. It’s important that we acknowledge that,” Cassandra Canedo said.

The resolution for the funds did include some restrictions on spending, like the money could not be used to vaccinate people 0 to 18 years old.

But both sides are still very clear where they stand on this issue.

One Livingston county resident said, “Dirty money makes dirty people.”

While another felt differently.

“As the county’s COVID-19 rates continue to increase, including in schools I ask the board to accept the 1.5 million in funding,” another Livingston County resident said.

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