Mar. 7--Wilson County is preparing for budget impacts brought on by Tuesday morning's tornado damage, as first responders spent the week working overtime to assist victims.
Finance Director Aaron Maynard provided an update at the Wilson County Commission's Budget Committee meeting Thursday.
"Obviously, there's a lot of overtime," he said. "I expect there will be some budget amendments down the road for the disaster response, and at some point I expect we will see some reimbursement money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency."
President Donald Trump's administration authorized the release of FEMA funding to areas affected by the tornado on Thursday. According to a release from the agency, Wilson, Davidson and Putnam counties are eligible for aid under both the Individual Assistance and Public Assistance programs.
In addition, all Tennessee counties are eligible for Hazard Mitigation program funding, which is meant to prevent or reduce long-term risk to lives and property.
The budget committee also backed a recommendation to hire a part-time, certified peer recovery specialist for the Drug Court program's case management position.
A full-time counselor with a master's degree previously held the position. Wilson County Drug Court Director Jeff Dickson said the grant used to finance it no longer covers someone with those qualifications, but he said a recovery specialist could actually be a better fit.
"I reached out to my friends at the grant agency and exchanged some ideas with them," he said. "They felt like a certified peer recovery specialist would serve our needs better, and it would also give us a person that had a pretty substantial period of sobriety and had been through training for the case management position."
Officials at the state level have already approved funding for the position, and the budget committee approved it pending
"Instead of contracting with Volunteer Behavioral Health for $27 an hour, we'd like to go to a part-time person and keep it at no more than 29 hours a week," Dickson said. "Our entry level case management position is $14.50 ... this person understands in our industry, once a grant's gone there's no commitment beyond the longevity of the grant."
The Wilson County Judicial Committee is slated to review the item on March 16 at 6:30 p.m. so it can come before the full commission meeting at 7 p.m. the same day.
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