Franklin County has received $4.9 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Now, to decide what to do with it.
Judge-Executive Huston Wells appointed a committee to do just that; it is made up of Wells and Magistrates Marti Booth and Lambert Moore. Its first meeting is at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The committee will come up with a plan for use of ARPA funds. ARPA is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress to combat lingering economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are constraints on uses for the money. County Grants Writer Ann Northcutt shared the latest guidance from the National Association of Counties, which lists five main areas for spending:
Addressing negative economic impacts of the pandemic.
Replace county revenue lost as a result of the pandemic.
Premium pay for essential workers (those who took on “the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure”).
Water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
Wells said that some ideas have been bounced around for potential ARPA funding, but nothing is solid until the committee recommends projects, which would then go to the entire fiscal court for approval.
“There are some ideas out there, and we’d like to bring those ideas to the committee and discuss,” Wells said. “Hopefully we can come to a consensus with the committee and get it to the court as soon as we can."
The $4.9 million received by the county is the first installment of two it will receive. A second equal amount will be sent to the county in about one year, Wells said.