Douglas County Considers American Rescue Plan Act Funds To Aid Budget
Federal funds could help Douglas County accomplish it's infrastructure goals for the current budget year. Douglas County Board members are expected to consider approval on requested projects at their next meeting in June 17; with the approval comes the transfer of "left-over" dollars from the last budget year.
According to an article in the Superior Telegram, the county is considering project requests that total more than $2.47 million for the year; at the same time, "the county's Finance Department identified $2.35 million in budget surplus from 2020 that could go towards" the total dollars allocated for infrastructure. The money allocated would be put to good use:
"Projects includes (sic) building and equipment improvements for the highway department, jail, sheriff's office and at the Government Center and Courthouse; park improvements at Lucius Woods; and a groundwater testing program that subsidizes homeowners costs to have their wells tested."
The aid from federal funding comes after critical review by Douglas County officials. County Administrator Ann Doucette "directed department managers to review their requests and list any projects they felt could be funded through federal ARPA dollars." The aim was to utilize the anticipated $8.4 million that was expected from the federal government. The American Rescue Plan Act funding was specifically-tied to use for "water, sewer, migrating the chances of COVID(-19) spread, (and) broadband." Comparing available funds to potential uses allowed county officials the ability to devise a list; County Administrator Doucette explains:
"We did identify $410,000 in projects that will qualify right now. Those had to do with water and sewer. In January, you approved a great big project for air handling for the courthouse for $350,000. We believe that might qualify, too, so if we put that towards recovering funding, that would free up project dollars for other things."
Some of those "other things" could include the infrastructure spending that county officials are looking at. Either way - no matter what the federal funds end up getting used for - they have to be used; stipulations dictate that they can't create a "rainy day fund" or carry it as a budget surplus.