Halifax County is expected to receive $9.7 million in American Rescue Plan funding, commissioners were told at their meeting today.
Senior Management Analyst Christina Wells told the board what is known thus far is limited but language passed by the United States Senate clarifies eligible uses for the funds.
The funds will be released in two phases — half of the allocation by the end of the month and the other half not sooner than 12 months after the first allocation. The county would have until the end of 2024 to expend the funds.
“Operating on what we know now, our preliminary plan for spending these APR funds is to cover several important eligible expenses that will be of benefit to many Halifax County citizens and maintenance of infrastructure,” Wells wrote in a memo to the board.
(A chart in the accompanying photo gallery shows the amount Halifax County municipalities and school systems are expected to receive from the federal aid package. Also shown is how funds can be expended)
The expenditure ideas are as follows:
Water and sewer revenue replacement due to lost revenues for late fees and shut-offs — $133,026
Water and sewer infrastructure projects — $1.74 million
Water loop system at Halifax Community College: The total project cost is $2 million with United States Department of Agriculture funding at 37 percent and a county share of $1.2 million
VIPER radio project — $800,000
Potential — if qualified — fiber extension for broadband from the new courthouse to the historic courthouse — $70,000
Intercept body scanner for the detention center — $169,000
“It’s not imperative we do something quickly,” County Manager Tony Brown said of spending the money. “This is preliminary and subject to change. We haven’t funded anything yet. We will come to you with recommendations. We may have more needs than money.”
Responding to a question from Commissioner Carolyn Johnson on how the funds will help out with the upcoming fiscal year budget, Brown said, “It will be helpful if we can do capital items. We can take it off the to-do list. It’s a great opportunity to address things that will help our budget.”
Board Chair Vernon Bryant said water and broadband are two of the most critical items facing the county. “We need to partner to make this happen.”
Brown said the county has several months to discuss how the funds should be spent. “We have to make sure we identify all the possibilities.”
The county manager said the gray area in spending the money is how it will apply to renovations. “That’s the biggest unknown.”
In Roanoke Rapids, City Manager Joseph Scherer announced in March that the city anticipates receiving $4.19 million in funding.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is a COVID-19 relief package of which more than $19 billion has been designated for non-county municipalities with a population less than 50,000.