County Commission Advances ARPA Fund Reallocation for Key Projects

County Commission Advances ARPA Fund Reallocation for Key Projects

At the County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Commissioners responded to a request from County Administration regarding the reallocation of funds received under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The ARPA, signed into law on March 11, 2021, allocates funds to each county through the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Relief Fund (CLFRF). Saline County received $10,532,376 for specified purposes related to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The request presented to the Commission highlighted areas where funds have not been fully expended as originally anticipated. Among these was a proposal by the Salina Airport Authority, initially designated for an air service support contract, which had to be revised due to a pilot shortage. The resulting surplus of $400,000 is now proposed for an incentive to encourage SkyWest to adjust flight times to pre-pandemic levels.

Another instance involved a $50,000 grant awarded to Community Corrections for a study on fines and fees' impact on residents involved in the criminal justice system. The project, led by community volunteers, concluded without progressing to a pilot phase, leaving $10,516 unallocated.

The County has utilized CLFRF for housing development, leveraging water/wastewater infrastructure and poverty alleviation avenues. A proposed $1M for multi-family housing development with the City of Salina is under consideration, though the current location does not align with Treasury regulations. The possibility of reallocating these funds remains, pending further decisions.

Support for economic impacts, nonprofits, and broadband infrastructure were also part of the reallocation discussion. Approximately $1,086,811 is presumed available, with an additional $400,000 pending approval for the air service incentive. After accounting for specific project expenses, $1,011,175 is earmarked for potential reallocation.

The Commission had previously approved a "backup list" for unspent CLFRF, and the recommended projects include a $500,000 grant program for fire district facilities, a $175,000 realignment of the Stimmel & Old 40 intersection, and $400,000 for Simpson between Campbell & Schippel bridge replacement and channel improvements.

The motion to approve reallocation for the Farm Bureau tire project, Riordan & Holmes intersection project, and authorizing staff to proceed with the fire district grant program was unanimously approved. The decision aligns with prior Commission directives, ensuring timely utilization of CLFRF within the specified timeframe. The budget impact, according to state law, does not affect the County's adopted budget, and sufficient cash is available for the proposed reallocations.

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