The Marshall County Commissioners heard several requests for financial support using the county’s ARPA Funds during their meeting Monday.
The first request came from the County Council for a shortfall in the in-house 2022 Road Program for the Marshall County Highway Department. Last week Highway Superintendent Jason Peters told the Council he was short $1.2 million in the Community Crossing projects and the adjacent projects. Earlier this month the commissioners recommended the council appropriate the needed funds from the county’s ARP funds. He also told the council he was short $1.7 million in the local road project completed by his staff. The council recommended using the ARP funds but also said they would be willing to appropriate $1 million front the General Fund to help cover the shortfall.
The commissioners discussed the shortfall and determined the best way to split the funds would be between the ARP Funds and the General Fund. Their recommendation to the Council will be to appropriate $890,000 of the ARP Funds and cover the remainder from the General Fund.
The second request for ARP Funds came from Rick Thompson from Marshall Starke Development Center.
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer had stopped at the Center and toured the facilities. During his visit, he realized they had no cameras or locked doors. When he asked Thompson about that he said they are a not-for-profit organization, and the funds just aren’t available. Overmyer suggested they seek some ARP Funds to help make the children and staff safe in the new area we live in.
While they don’t have all their estimates yet it was suggested they make sure the quotes include automatic notification to law enforcement if there was an issue.
All three County Commissioners were supportive of added security for Marshall Starke and suggested Thompson take the quotes to their board of directors and have them make a recommendation to the commissioners.
The third request came from the Beaman Home in Warsaw. Renae Salyer, Executive Director of the domestic violence shelter told the commissioners they had a 13% reduction in the VOCA funding which is equivalent to $42,000 to $43,000.
Salyer said the funds requested would provide more outreach in Marshall County, assist with utilities and food assistance and provide classes such as parenting classes, healthy relationship classes, and domestic violence classes.
The commissioners had many questions and said they needed to complete some research. They told Salyer they would look at the request and decide in the next several weeks.
The final request for ARP Funds came from Chris Garner, Executive Director of the Marshall County Neighborhood Center.
Commissioner Stan Klotz had mentioned assisting the food pantries with a portion of the ARP Funds. Commissioner Overmyer stopped by the Neighborhood Center and asked if they needed help.
Garner said they needed to replace the multiple refrigerators and freezers in the pantry with an outdoor combo refrigerator/freezer. She said they plan to have the structure enclosed and it will free up space in the pantry and allow more space in the clothing closet also.
Garner explained that since COVID the way the Center gets food donations has changed. She said they are offered large supplies, but their cold and frozen space are limited so they can only take a partial or none at all. One example she gave was a donation of 170 turkeys for thanksgiving. She said storing them had to be spread out among several locations and then they had to collect them again when they handed out the 200-plus food baskets.
The Neighborhood Center asked for $35,000 to $45,000 for the project noting that overall the total cost would be about $120,000. The Center would cover the remainder of the project expense with funds from their Building Fund and through grants.
The three commissioners were supportive of the request for ARP funds to assist with the project.
County Auditor Julie Fox told the commissioner they received their second and final ARPA fund payment in the amount of $4,492,537.
The Commissioners will ask the County Council to appropriate half of the local in-house 2022 Road Plan using ARP Funds. The other request will be presented when the final figures are received.