If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
by Chanse Hall
Ringgold County received ARPA funds back in 2021, in the amount of $950,602, but what is ARPA?
ARPA stands for American Rescue Plan Act.
The American Rescue Plan Act was signed on March 11, 2021 by President Joe Biden, giving $1.9 trillion to State governments to aid public health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
When ARPA was approved, certain rules governed how local governments could spend the money.
The funds were originally to be used for public health initiatives, certain types of infrastructure projects and mitigation of negative economic impacts of the pandemic which included assistance to small businesses households and hard-hit industries, along with premium pay for essential workers and investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
Restrictions on the funds included states could not use funding to directly or indirectly offset tax reductions or delay a tax or tax increase and the funds could not be deposited into any pension fund.
The funding was also required to be spent by 2024.
Fast-forward to 2022 and restrictions and guidelines on the funds were relaxed and opened up.
Now the guidelines expect the funds to be alloted by December 31, 2024 and funds must be expended and all work must be completed by December 31, 2026, according to the interim final rule.
The final rule guided local governments in how the funds were to be used.
A full breakdown of the rule can be viewed online at https://www.naco.org/resources/featured/us-treasury-interim-final-rule-guidance-state-and-local-fiscal
On the above named website, eligible expenses are outlined for local governments to follow:
• Support public health response such as preventing and mitigating Covid-19 through vaccination programs, stagging, testing, etc.
• Address negative economic impacts such as assistance to households through food assistance, rent, home repairs, etc and small business and non-profit support such as loans and grants or technical assistance, etc.
• Premium pay for essentials workers up to $13/hr in addition to wages no to exceed $25,000 per eligible worker, etc.
• Payroll expenses for public health & public safety employees such as payroll and covered benefits expenses for public safety, health or human serves, etc.
• Replace public sector revenue loss
• Water & Sewer Infrastructure such as clean water projects, etc.
• Broadband infrastructure
• Ineligible expenses such as funding pension funds or net reduction in tax revenue, etc.
• Reporting requirements
The chart on the front page shows who in Ringgold County requested ARPA funds, what project the funds were requested for, how much money was requested and how much was awarded. Also included is how much has been spent and the remaining balance.
Ringgold County allotted half of the $950,602 on October 4, 2021 as well as February 7, 2022, in the amount of $475,301, of which, $80,513.54 has yet to be spent.
Ringgold county appointed a committee consisting of various department heads and one county supervisor.
Committee members include supervisor Colby Holmes, auditor Amanda Waska, sheriff Rob Haley, public health director Becky Fletchall, EMA coordinator Melissa Stark and treasurer Debra Cannon.
The Ringgold County ARPA Committee approved projects for the second allotment of the other $475,301 on May 27, 2022, of which the Ringgold County Supervisors only approved three projects totaling $77,812, stating in a recent Board of Supervisors meeting that they want to wait to approve everything out of the second allotment until the unspent portion of the first allotment is spent.
Those not funded by the supervisors but approved by the committee was the auditor with election equipment for $23,000, E911 PSAP – Dispatch updates for $61,489, Secondary Roads equipment for $205,000 and County Conservation Liberty Lake Campground for $108,000.
Auditor Amanda Waske provided an updated ARPA Funds breakdown as departments have since spent approximately $18,000 of the previous approximate $98,000 still out and $80,513.54 is still looking to be spent out of the first allotment.
Out of that first allotment of $475,301, two departments overspent a combined total of $3,334.52.
The Ringgold county supervisors meet every Monday at 9 a.m.