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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission hears pitch from La Cygne, SEKMHC on ARPA money

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

MOUND CITY – Linn County Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower updated the Linn County Commission on several issues at the Monday, Nov. 28 meeting.

Hightower told the commissioners that there would be a meeting with the mayors on Monday, Dec. 5, at the annex to talk about housing.

Commissioner Danny McCullough said he would like to have another meeting with the mayors and the commissioners. Hightower said that the mayors have requested that the next meeting like that needs to be a workshop on a specific topic. She said they don’t like to come and just talk about what everybody is doing.

Hightower brought the two applications for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from last week up to the commissioners. The applications from the city of La Cygne and the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center (SEKMHC) were discussed.

Commissioner Rick James asked if anybody asked any more questions last week from SEKMHC and have they asked all of their counties for money.

Hightower said she had a little more information about the SEKMHC application. She said they asked all their counties for funding. They have implemented some new computer programs for their systems, hired a new medical provider during COVID season here, added some after-hours programs, and they would also bring the Linn County office up to American with Disabilities Act (ACT) compliance.

Linn County would be paying a share of the money for the programs and 100 percent of the funds for the ADA update at the Linn County office.

Hightower said that SEKMHC was asking for $217,500.

McCullough asked if this was on top of the $117,000 that the county gives them yearly. It is in addition to that money.

James said the county was looking at other uses of the ARPA fund and that he didn’t know why commissioners would consider this proposal yet.

La Cygne City Clerk Jodi Wade was at the meeting to explain why the city of La Cygne was requesting ARPA funds.

Wade explained that the city was asking for funds for improvements to the city’s carbon room feeder at the water treatment plant. The project will cost $130,000 and the city is asking for $65,000 for help with the project.

Wade told the commissioners that during the city’s 2017 water project, made several improvements on the water distribution system and the water plant, including an upgrade of the electrical panels.

La Cygne has had an analysis done by an engineering company looking at the current functions of the water treatment plant, which included a forecast of expected needs.

She told the commissioners as growth continues in that part of the county, the city has developed a master improvement plan that prioritizes things that need to be done.

She said that the water treatment plant at La Cygne does not just provide water for the city but also Linn County Rural Water districts 1 and 3 and will also be providing more water for Linn Valley.

James asked Wade if La Cygne had received any ARPA funds. She explained that they had received $170,000 and the funds were put toward the new fire station along with $100,000 of foundation money and $150,000 of their reserves.

She pointed out that the governments were encouraged by the ARPA guidelines to use the funds for public safety, water, sewer, and broadband.

She said that when the city received the ARPA funds, the city was not in this phase of development with the master water treatment plan.

James told Wade that the commissioners would consider the city’s application.

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