County issues part of ARPA funding | News, Sports, Jobs

LOCK HAVEN – Earlier this year, Clinton County received just over $ 3.7 million in the first of two annual installments of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The Council of Commissioners intends to budget part of ARPA to cover lost revenue and county initiatives in response to the COVID pandemic.

“The county received just over $ 7 million in US bailout law funds this year. This is a two-year payment. So in 2021 we received just over $ 3.4 million and the commissioners worked together to start budgeting for that money. Some of these funds will be used for county needs and for losses in the county due to the COVID pandemic, ” said Commissioner Angela Harding during Monday’s working session.

Other funds will be used to improve online capabilities.

“We will use funds to modernize our online capabilities for the community so that more information is accessible from home,” said President Miles Kessinger. “We have equipment that is dated and does not offer the extended access offered by the new equipment and programs. “

Kessinger explained that current technology will need to be replaced eventually and in order to avoid a tax increase, the county needs to cover lost revenue and plan for the future.

One of the approved uses is to provide grants to the community following guidelines established by the federal government. The commissioners have agreed to initiate this process with what they call “ARPA Phase 1”.

This first phase will be accessible to municipalities, public authorities and associations. These entities will be able to apply for one of two categories: water and sewer, infrastructure or recreational projects, two uses of funds approved by the federal government.

“Municipalities also receive ARPA funds and many have infrastructure projects that require upgrades,” said Vice President Jeff Snyder. “If we can supplement their ARPA funds with additional funding that will help them carry out these projects, the county will be all the better for it. We would like municipalities and authorities to carry out larger and more sustainable projects rather than using the funds on smaller and less impactful projects because they did not have enough funding.

The goal of starting the first phase with municipalities and townships, Harding said, is that each of them has already received ARPA funds. She said that each municipality / township received a different amount of funds based on calculations made and decided by the federal government.

“Rather than seeing our municipalities and townships sort of nickel and silver to fit into the approved categories for funding, we wanted to eventually help complete some of these projects so that we have a more efficient use of those funds. in the county. rather than using them for smaller projects that will not be as successful ”, Harding continued. “This grant program will be done through the AmpliFund site that we used for our CARES funding in 2020.”

Grant applications for recreation projects are necessary to provide a direct response to the negative economic impacts of the coronavirus emergency and / or are related to public health and / or environmental improvement.

“One thing we have learned from the pandemic is that interest in recreation is growing. There are many projects going on and many opportunities to expand or develop recreational facilities and opportunities in County Clinton ”, said Harding.

The Clinton County Planning Department prepared an online grant application. The portal will open on September 21, 2021 and will remain open until November 1, 2021.

According to county planner Katie de Silva, the app is user-friendly and the county’s website portal has more details on eligibility and requirements.

County Grants Administrator Kari Kepler encourages anyone with questions to contact her office for assistance. All applications will be accepted electronically, but if an applicant runs out of resources or needs assistance, Kepler will schedule an appointment to help them with the process.

“On our county’s website there will be more information and requirements for those interested in applying for these funds. We would like all requests to be made electronically, but we recognize that some municipalities may not have the capacity to do so. Therefore, if there are any questions or if (people) do not have the opportunity to complete it electronically online, we ask that you call and make an appointment with our planning office. Kari will be happy to sit with you and review the application here in the County Building, so that all the information related to the application is in one small, tidy place online. It is much easier for the planning staff to sort them out and write a report together for us to review ”, said Harding.

Kessinger added that they had already received around three to four letters from different municipalities requesting funding. He said that even if a municipality / township has sent a letter, they will still have to go through the digital application process on the AmpliFund website in order to register it. The grant process will be open for six weeks, he said.

“The rules change almost every week on these funds. They still haven’t released final regulations on those funds, and they’ve been there for several months now. I don’t know what they are doing, I don’t know if they know what they are doing because it seems to change every week ”, Kessinger continued

Harding added that Clinton County commissioners are “Fairly confident that these two uses of the funds will continue to be applicable for the money.”

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