The St. Joseph County Council is set to discuss its first round of spending from the American Rescue Plan Act Tuesday evening. About $10.5 million of the county’s nearly $53-million allotment is on the table.
Federal guidelines say rescue plan funding can be used to “support urgent COVID-19 response efforts, support immediate economic stabilization for households and businesses, replace lost government revenue and address systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the unequal impact of the pandemic.”
Of that roughly $10.5 million, almost $4 million would go to cover existing expenses brought on by the pandemic, like staffing vaccine clinics, making overtime payments and upgrading equipment in county buildings.
The remaining $6.5 million would go to new projects, the largest of which is a $4 million proposed paving project. In their funding request, county officials said the money would make up for lower gas tax revenue in 2020, and would be used to repave 15-20 miles of subdivision roads.
The county police are also requesting nearly $2.2 million, primarily to buy a body camera system and related equipment. In his funding request, Sheriff Bill Redman said “of the largest three police departments in St. Joseph County, the St. Joseph County Police Department is the only department that does not have a body camera program.”
The county’s public works department also requested $325,000 to develop a “Communitywide Drinking Water Protection Plan.” The funding would pay for an analysis –– including a wastewater treatment plant feasibility study –– of how to reduce and manage the impact of septic systems on drinking water quality.
The council’s budget and administration committee will hear all requests for rescue plan funding starting at 5:30 p.m. You can access the Zoom meeting with this link.
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