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County formally accepts ARPA funds

by JOSH MCDONALD
Staff Reporter | May 12, 2022 10:25 AM

WALLACE — The Shoshone Board of County Commissioners recently signed a resolution formally accepting 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).

Now that the funds have been accepted, applications are being accepted by Shoshone County Grant Administrator Colleen 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, track funds and review project funding requests submitted to Shoshone County.

The funds must be used in a 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.

“This is money that needs to be treated like a budget,” said Shoshone County Grant Administrator Colleen Rosson. “It has to be run through a budgetary process.”

The county now has to have the money obligated to its various recipients by December 2024, and subsequently spent by December 2026.

“These monies may be used for bigger projects that take longer to build out than just two years,” Rosson said.

The county is wisely putting the onus on the groups who apply to receive funding to prove how their projects meet the specific criteria, as well as shown how the money will specifically be spent — this will give Rosson and the BOCC a line-by-line reports that can be used for any potential auditing.

BOCC Chairman Mike Fitzgerald discussed how the $2.5 million will likely be split, with the county using $500,000 to do some backfill for projects that directly benefit the courthouse, such as its heating and cooling system — which, by upgrading, can improve the air quality of the aging building. The rest of the money will be available at the external project level.

“We know that we’re going to look at projects with the highest need, as well as getting the most for our money,” Fitzgerald said. “We may even see where there might be places where we can combine funds for even bigger impacts… Things like grant matches, or if a project needs a small nudge in order to get off the ground. But we also have some internal county needs that can be covered here as well.”

Rosson will serve as the contact to send project funding requests to the county. Funding requests that follow Treasury guidelines will be evaluated for highest long-term impact that align with the local community’s needs.

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