On April 6, 2020, Governor Bill Lee announced $200 million in grants to be distributed to every county and city government across Tennessee for one-time, local expenses in fiscal year 2021. Funding was based on population as published by the U.S. Census Bureau. The grant guidelines stated that funds could be used for road projects, I.T. upgrades, capital maintenance, utility system upgrades, and public safety projects.
Wayne County Executive Jim Mangubat said that he was very appreciative of the approximately $1 million dollars that Wayne County was set to receive, but he was concerned that the counties would not have more discretion over what exactly the grant money could be used for. State Representative David Byrd agreed that counties should be able to use the grant monies for other possible needs that were just as great, but not necessarily on the list of “covered” projects.
After discussions between Representative Byrd, County Executive Mangubat, and Governor Bill Lee, Wayne County received approval to use some of the grant funding to help our local active volunteer fire departments. Eight VFDs in Wayne County were presented with a check for $5,000: Holly Creek, Southgate, Lutts, Cypress Inn, Buffalo River/Topsy, Highway 69, Eagle Creek, and Ovilla. Each of these departments was very thankful for the money, as all of our volunteer fire departments are constantly in need of equipment, supplies, and upgrades.