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County approves ARPA more designations

by JOSH MCDONALD
Local Editor | July 25, 2022 11:38 AM

WALLACE — The Shoshone Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved three more local organizations to receive funding through the $2.5 million Shoshone County allocation of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund program (CSLFRF) authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

During a Monday morning meeting with Shoshone County Grant Administrator Colleen Rosson, the BOCC once again reviewed the criteria and goals surrounding these funds before making its decisions.

“Our goals with this windfall funding are to support requests that enhance the infrastructure and economic stability of our communities,” Rosson said. “The intent of the Treasury through the ARPA funding emphasized using thoughtful consideration in use of the funds to recover and move beyond the impacts of the pandemic and not create new fiscal burdens. We want to extend the resources committed to these projects with this once in a generation funding.”

Rosson, whose job it is to ensure the funds are used in compliance with the regulatory and statutory requirements provided by the United States Department of the Treasury, has been busy reviewing the applications and getting them in order to be presented to the BOCC.

The funds must be used in way that fit the following criteria:

Replace lost public sector revenue; Respond to the far-reaching public health and negative economic impacts of the pandemic; Provide premium pay for essential workers; Invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

Last week, the BOCC committed funds to the Clarkia Water and Sewer District, the East Shoshone County Water District (ESCWD), as well as additional funds to the Shoshone County Crisis Resource Center (SCCRC).

Clarkia Water and Sewer requested $73,000 to cover the costs of recoating the three lift stations, as well as replacing the worn and rusted parts of the system. They will receive $20,000 to help with immediate needs, including those affecting the essential safety and functionality of the system. Rosson further explained that the county will reserve an additional $20,000.

ESCWD requested $119,000 for work that is needed in order to replace the water line that crosses the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River at the Sixth Street Bridge.

After reviewing the scope of the repair work that needs to be done, the county awarded them $98,700 for construction costs in relocating the water line as indicated in the engineers' cost projections submitted.

The SCCRC had asked for a little over $120,000 in its original proposal, which included the goals of covering two years worth of bills at its Pinehurst facility, providing continued services like victim advocacy, and to help with the costs of replacing the carpet in its Wallace office.

The BOCC approved $20,000 for the carpet replacement earlier this month, but wanted some more information from the group’s administrators.

After further consideration, the decision was made to award the SCCRC $27,000 for basic operational costs for the next two years — this bumps its total money allotted to $47,000.

The county did deny a request however, Mountain Valley of Cascadia had requested $472,000 that would go to quarterly bonuses for its front line employees.

Rosson explained that the decision to deny the request weighed heavily on the county, but in the end the request did not fit the county’s goals for how to spend the federal funds.

“This was not an easy decision; the front-line employees are essential to the operations of the county for our residents,” Rosson said. “They were able to continue working after proper safety protocols were implemented and given added paid sick leave above regular paid time. Considering the shape of today's economy, the ability to create long-lasting impact with all funds is the responsible direction to take.”

One of the biggest issues facing the county is the state of its failing public safety building.

The county is in the process of purchasing land on the western border of Wallace and even recently discussed annexing the land into the Wallace city limits in order to remain compliant with Idaho Code.

In 2019, a $22 million bond for a new 32,000-square-foot public safety building failed to garner the 67% vote necessary to build — while the county has nowhere near that amount available — they have set aside $800,000 for building repairs and upgrades at the current building.

The courthouse also has some upgrades that are needed — including its ventilation systems, which the county has already earmarked funds for.

Shoshone County’s Solid Waste Department has been working toward an air curtain burner.

Air curtain burners were designed principally as a pollution control device for open burning. The primary objective of an air curtain machine is to reduce the particulate matter (PM), or smoke, which results from burning clean wood waste.

Having one of these at the transfer station will save a great deal of transportation costs and allow on-site disposal of waste that is in compliance with the air quality requirements. According to Rosson, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has committed to funding the purchase of the equipment after permitting and asked for a 50% match from Solid Waste. The county has been looking for an alternative source to fund this purchase, but has set $150,000 aside to potentially use for it.

The county is still taking grant request applications.

For more information or to request a project proposal form, email Colleen Rosson at crosson@co.shoshone.id.us.

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