Cobb County BOC approves distribution of 60,480 COVID self-test kits to residents

Cobb County government building sign, a vertical rectangular sign with the words "Board of Commissioners," "County Clerk," "County Manager," "County Office," "Employment," and a wheelchair entrance icon

At this morning’s meeting of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners the BOC voted 4-1, with District 1 Commissioner Keli Gambrill in oppostion, to approve the purchase of 60,480 iHealth COVID rapid test kits.

The details of the request for approval of the purchase were described in the agenda packet for the meeting as follows:

On December 14, 2021, the Board approved the closeout of the CARES fund federal grant program. At that
time, unspent funding was allocated to Public Safety-related County departments to reimburse a portion of
eligible personnel expenses incurred during the Pandemic.

Under the current Declaration of Emergency, entered into on December 22, 2021, the Director of the Cobb
Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) has the authority to approve emergency actions deemed necessary
to address public health issues within Cobb County.

In response to the surging number of new Covid-19 cases, the County has restored previous safety protocols
and is taking every measure possible to mitigate the impact of this virus.

In order to limit unnecessary exposure, the CEMA Director has authorized under emergency authority, the purchase of 60,480 At-Home “iHealth Test Kits”, for distribution to the public. These kits have been purchased from Matrix Management Services, LLC, at a cost of $13.50 each. The total emergency purchase price of $816,480.00 was quoted on December 30, 2021.

It is requested that the Board ratify the CEMA Director’s action to approve this purchase, as well as, the budget
transactions necessary to transfer a portion of the funding that was allocated to the General Fund Public Safety
related units as a contingency balance with the December 14, 2021 action.

In opposing the motion to approve the use of the funds for COVID test kits, Gambrill said “Again, I continue to voice for opposition to the funding.”

“And while I understand it’s coming from undesignated contingency, and just last night, county government at 6:03 p.m. sent out an email stating that this is going to be using the remaining CARES funding,” she said.

Gambrill said this violated the agreement the county made when they accepted the CARES funds.

District 2 Commissioner Jerica Richardson asked county Finance Director Bill Volckmann if using the funds for the test kits was an appropriate use.

Yes,” Volckmann said. “So to add that … at the end of December, we closed out our CARES grant.”

He said money was used to reimburse public safety salaries as eligible under the Cares Act.

“And in doing so we freed up general fund dollars that would have been otherwise used to fund public safety salaries,” he said. “We moved those to a contingency account to address ongoing pandemic expenses that were going to happen beyond the December 31 cutoff.”

“Now, those are not restricted for pandemic related expenses,” he said. “But that was the initial intent, which is why we’re using those monies that we set aside for this purpose, the home test kits.”

The motion to approve passed 4-1.