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Center Twp. holds PPE distribution

Center Township Trustee Rex Underwood (right) wheels out newly purchased disinfectant wipes and cleaners from the township fiscal officer Becky Tolson’s vehicle, as his board colleague Greg Shive watches. Tolson had to run to an area store to purchase the items, after the township had exhausted its supply of items during the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) distribution Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Stephanie Ujhelyi)

LISBON — Traffic was brisk up and down Industrial Park Road, Saturday as Center Township hosted its Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) drive-thru distribution.

Center Township Trustee Greg Shive explained that within the first hour of the event, officials had already given out 100 grocery bags containing items such as masks, gloves, disinfectant and hand sanitizer.

It is was a full team effort, explained his board colleague Rex Underwood.

Fiscal Officer Becky Tolson found herself making a run to an area store to snatch up more disinfectant wipes and Clorox cleaner, after the township already had exhausted its supply.

According to Underwood, the township had purchased bulk supplies with its CARES Act money to guarantee the best rates to distribute free materials to residents Boxes lined the township meeting room.

This was the latest effort for the township, as officials were completely committed to not only exhausting its CARES Act money, which had to be returned if not spent on government approved items, but also in making sure it was to the benefit of their residents.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Center Township, which is one of Columbiana County’s 18 townships, has 3,525 residents. Within the township’s eastern portion is the village of Lisbon, Columbiana County’s county seat.

Underwood confirms that stopping the spread of COVID-19 among its township residents was a top priority, when deciding how to spread that $119,674 in CARES Act money. This was second time that the township had held this kind of distribution.

Center Township already had purchased and distributed touchless thermometers, which could be mounted on walls, and hand sanitizer units for 27 of its community gathering places like churches, schools and social organizations complete with gallons of the hand sanitizer solution. Trustees also paid around $12,000 for a hand wash station for use at one of the Lisbon schools.

“Our goal was to spend every dime for our residents,” Underwood said, adding that they also had purchased items like electrostatic sprayers for Lepper Library and Center Township’s trucks at the Lisbon Fire Department.

According to Underwood, additional CARES Act purchases by the township had included ultraviolet light rapid sanitizers and 10 extra sets of fire gear for the fire department, which does a lot of lift assists in the township; extra police uniforms for its small department; and laptop units and a printer for trustees and the police department.

Tolson added that the township also bought Lepper Public Library a $934.90 sanitizing tub unit that can disinfect 10 books at a time before they are returned to library shelves.

“I am proud of how we came together as a team,” Underwood continued. “We drove ourselves hard to make sure that our residents got the benefit, and they did.”

The township estimates that it spent in excess of $28,000 on items to be distributed to their community.

At the end of the second three-hour event, more than 650 bags of PPE had been distributed.

Trustees include Tim Novak, who chairs the board; Underwood and Shive.

Center Township trustees meet at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday at the month at the township building, 38241 Industrial Park Road in Lisbon. Right now, those meetings are held virtually due to the pandemic.

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