Bonner County declares coronavirus disaster

Commissioners: Declaration is ‘just a financial thing’

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Bonner County commissioners approved a local declaration of disaster emergency on Tuesday, March 17 following a recommendation from Bonner County Emergency Management regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution detailed Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s state of emergency proclamation, and acknowledged that while COVID-19 may not yet be detected in the community, “the imminent threat of [a] public health emergency is expected to affect Bonner County’s ability to protect, maintain and deliver critical services to citizens.”

Emergency Management Director Bob Howard said the declaration covers all municipalities in the county, and that all agencies under that umbrella should “hereon track their expenses related to the COVID-19 situation so that potentially there could be some reimbursement” from state or federal entities once the emergency passes.

Commissioner Dan McDonald characterized the disaster declaration as “primarily just a financial thing.”

“Basically, it gives us the ability, if we have to spend any money on this issue, which we may or may not, it will be reimbursable,” he said. “If, in fact, we have to engage this, then it changes a little bit of the way the county operates. It allows us to spend money out of budget.”

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