Stanly municipalities discuss how to utilize ARP funds

Published 3:53 pm Friday, October 15, 2021

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Each of the 10 municipalities across Stanly County, along with the county government, have all received the first half of the funds appropriated to them through the American Rescue Plan, a landmark $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by President Biden in March.

The money is intended to help address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to specifically help communities that have been struggling over the past year and a half to recover.

The funds can be spent in a variety of ways to reduce the impact of the pandemic, including to assist households, small businesses and nonprofits; offset revenue losses caused by the pandemic; aid impacted industries, such as tourism, travel and hospitality; or make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure. They cannot be spent on a tax rate reduction or to delay a tax increase.

Each local government received the first half of the funds in May and the rest will be delivered around 12 months later. The amounts vary based on the size of the municipalities and all the money has to be spent by Dec. 31 2024.

The Stanly News & Press reached out to each municipality to learn how much money they have already received and how they plan to best utilize the funds. The following includes information from those who responded as of publication:

  • Stanly County has received $6.1 million and while the county commissioners have not approved a specific plan, County Manager Andy Lucas said staff has created a recommended plan to focus the funds heavily on water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. During the county commissioners meeting recently, Lucas said the plan includes investing almost $6 million into the West Stanly wastewater treatment plant expansion, $3.5 million to expand water lines into unserved areas, $1.65 million to help expand broadband throughout the county, $500,000 each to expand sewer and water lines to corporate hangars at the airport and $75,000 to enhance HVAC ventilation within the jail.
  • Albemarle has received almost $2.6 million and expects to receive the other half in June of next year. The city drafted a spending plan outlining how the funds could be best used and presented it before council recently. Of the total ARP funds, $1.6 million will go to improving water, sewer and broadband; $600,000 will go to, among other things, installing free Wi-Fi in downtown, helping with the alleyway revitalization project and helping finance downtown business grants; and $115,000 will go to public health, specifically hiring a risk manager and installing free Wi-Fi for people in public housing.
  • Locust received its first allotment of roughly $515,000 and it plans to utilize these funds to complete sewer infrastructure improvements to its collection system, according to City Administrator Cesar Correa.
  • Norwood has received $390,000 but the town council has not discussed how to utilize the funds, according to Town Administrator Scott Howard.
  • Stanfield has received $246,000 but the council has not discussed in detail how to spend the funds, according to Town Administrator Bridgette Helms. She said the bulk of the money will likely go towards improving the town’s sewer pump station.
  • Badin has received $314,000 and is awaiting word from the U.S. Treasury regarding final expenditure guidance for those funds, according to Town Manager Jay Almond. He noted planning for how the funds will be used will follow the guidance.
  • The Village of Misenheimer received $120,000 and plans to use the funds on a sewer project, according to Village Administrator Anita Blair.
  • Richfield received $99,000 but the board hasn’t discussed the best use of the funds, according to Town Administrator Carolyn Capps.
  • New London received $115,000 in the first allotment of ARP Funding and is awaiting final expenditure guidance from the U.S. Treasury regarding spending requirements, Town Administrator Susan Almond said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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