County designates ARPA funds for local entities
Stephens County has designated $200,000 of their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to go to four local entities. Commissioners approved the orders during last Monday’s meeting.
The county will receive $1,817,236 in ARPA funds, which will be paid out in two installments of $909,618. According to the Texas Association of Counties, ARPA Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds allow local governments to use funds for specific projects, such as supporting the public health response to the coronavirus pandemic; addressing the negative economic effects caused by COVID-19 by aiding workers and families, small businesses, nonprofits or industries such as tourism and travel that were hit particularly hard by the pandemic; replacing lost public sector revenue; providing premium pay for workers performing essential work during the pandemic; investing in water and sewer infrastructure; and/or investing in broadband infrastructure.
Counties cannot deposit the funds into a pension program. Other ineligible uses include funding debt service, paying legal settlements or judgments, and depositing recovery money into rainy day funds or financial reserves.
“We looked at some of the funding levels that we had supported in the past, and felt that, given the allocations of money we had, we could do so much,” County Judge Michael Roach said. “So, this was an attempt at taking those funds from the American (Rescue) Plan Act of 2021 and investing it where the federal government said we could, which in some of these cases, it falls directly within that.”
The Breckenridge Library and Swenson Memorial Museum will each receive a one-time payment of $30,000 from the county. Roach said the museum will use the funding to fix leaking roofs in two of their buildings.
“They can’t even open the third floor, I think, because of that reason. They didn’t have the capital to be able to (fix the roof),” Roach said. “So what they brought to us was a project and said ‘hey, we’re going to take the monies from the American (Rescue) Plan and here’s what we’re going to fix with it.’ (...) We’re funding just right above what their cost is going to be.”
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