Updated: Apr 9
MOUND CITY – On Monday, March 7, the Linn County Commissioners elected to take advantage of the latest ruling and move all of the nearly $1.9 million from their American Rescue Plant Act (ARPA) grant money to the standard allowance expenditure category as lost revenue.
That means that all of their ARPA grant funds are designated as lost revenue. Because of that, the county will be allowed to use the funds on projects other than those that are COVID-19 related.
When the ARPA grant first came out there were specific guidelines and categories where the money could be used. Counties were allowed an option of saying that the money was replacing lost revenue due to COVID but they had to do a detailed report of where the money was lost. They commissioners did not feel that they could justify that kind of loss.
The final rule option that was announced on Jan. 6 allows the county to designate all or part of their grant up to $10 million as revenue loss without going through the complicated report. By doing this, the county can use it for any government service, or anything that would be traditionally provided by the government.
As for offering broadband service to unserved or underserved areas of the county, this designation to the lost revenue category would allow the county flexibility and they would not have to follow all of the specifics on broadband the were required in the ARPA grant originally.
The county has already obligated $350,000 of the ARPA funds as a match to a $1.4 million grant application for making the industrial park south Pleasanton certified, as well as $140,000 to a contingency reserve for that grant. They have also committed to paying Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission (SEKRPC) for administration of the grant.
Commissioners are also looking at are buying a walking floor trailer for the transfer station, paving roads, and working on a variety of ways to expand Internet access to the west side of Linn County.