Editor's Note: This article was updated Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 9:48 a.m. to reflect that the Franklin County Fiscal Court has only committed $500,000 in ARPA funds toward county employee premium pay as of now.
After recommending $1 million of its first round of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds towards expanding broadband access in Franklin County, the county’s ARPA committee recommended last Thursday that the fiscal court put $2 million of its second round of ARPA money to that same program.
The money would be used in conjunction with the Frankfort Plant Board to expand that broadband internet access to households that are both unserved and underserved.
In addition to the county’s $3 million commitment, Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells said that FPB would put up $5 million to serve around 2,000 households. The estimated total cost, Wells said, is about $16 million. He said that the FPB would “go after” the remaining $8 million to secure the project.
Wells added that the county’s commitment was contingent on whether FPB can get the funds for the work or not, but he said that the county does believe that they can secure the funding.
For the other ARPA first round amounts, the county also allotted $500,000 for employee ‘premium pay.’ The ARPA Committee also has recommended the body give $1.5 to the City of Frankfort to cover the cost of work for a pump station that would help service the Farmdale Sanitation District, $1 million for broadband expansion in the county and a $500,000 contribution to the county’s water districts.
Voting members on the ARPA committee include Wells and Magistrates Marti Booth and Lambert Moore. At first, Booth expressed pause at supporting the measure because she was wary of giving funds to FPB.
“FPB has a mind of their own and they ignore everyone else,” Booth said. “I don’t like them.”
Booth eventually voted with Wells and Moore, based on their strong recommendation.
“This is an exciting moment for our community,” Wells said. “I know the magistrates have been hearing about this, and I think Thursday when we present this to the court this will be a positive direction to move our community forward.”