Members of the Marshall County Council and County Commissioners conducted a joint work session Monday on the American Rescue Plan. The county is set to receive $8,970,000 in two installment payments, half next month and the other half in May of 2022.
During Monday’s work session, Heidi Amspaugh from BakerTilly gave an overview of the American Rescue Plan for the public sector, discussed strategies preparing for the funding, highlighted eligible expenditures and gave the county key considerations to consider in creating their plan.
The county will receive almost $9 million and all the communities in the county are also receiving funds. Amspaugh said the State of Indiana is receiving funds and there will be other funding opportunities the county can leverage and apply for to recover from the pandemic.
Eligible uses of the funds are still not clear although some uses already approved include response to public health emergency, recovery of lost revenue, investments in sewer, water or broadband and transfer of funds to not-for-profits or special purpose units of state or local governments.
Commissioner Overmyer said one expenditure could be replacing or adding to the generator at the County Building. It was recently learned there is only enough power to operate the lights in the county building.
Amspaugh told county government officials they can work with other entities and plan joint projects such as extending sewer service to subdivisions outside the city or town limits or working on extending fiber to areas not being served locally.
The U.S. Treasury is requiring the creation of a plan of spending and appropriations of the American Rescue Plan will be approved by the county council just like they do now. It was suggested a smaller subcommittee work on the plan and present their recommendations to the commissioners for review and approval. The committee will include one commissioner, two council members and Dr. Holm the County Health Officer to begin with although no official actions were taken at the meeting.
Amspaugh suggested preparing an investment plan for the funding so it will be making interest for the county until it is spent. She also noted that road improvements is not an approved expenditure in this money. She said transportation relief money should be the next roll-out of money from the feds and that can be used for streets and bridges. In this funding round revenue lost in the Motor Vehicle Highway (MVH) or Local Road and Streets (LRS) funds can be recouped by the county.
The U.S Treasury has a few more weeks until the rules to create the regulations on how the funds from the American Rescue Plan can be used. Until then the county will begin working on a list of projects they would like to use the funds for.