County may extend ARPA funding request deadline

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

LEE COUNTY – Requests for funding out of Lee County’s $6.5 million American Rescue Plan Act coffer could be getting an extension Monday.

A panel overseeing the allocation of the ARPA funds is recommending that the deadline for applications be extended from Sept. 30 to Nov. 1.

The panel has changed recommended allocations on several occasions and just recently got an application put together for organizations to access on the county’s website at www.leecounty.org.

The move will go in front of the full board of supervisors at Monday’s regular meeting in Fort Madison.

The applications should include the organization name, address, contact person, requested funding amounts and project information.

The panel is accepting applications for projects that focus on broadband, housing, child care, and tourism. Thirty percent of the funds have already been allocated as matching funds for a Lee County broadband fiber optic backbone to be built in the county by Danville Telecom.

The county has until Dec. 31, 2024 to allocate all of the remaining $6.5 million, and then they have an additional two years, until Dec. 31, 2026 to spend down the funds.

Forty-two percent of the funds have been allocated for county projects, 10% has been allocated to child care projects and 10% to housing projects, 30% already was allocated the broadband work, and 3% will go toward the cost of an administrator/grant writer.

Non profits were originally allocated 5% of the funds, but those funds were moved to cover the administrator costs, with 2 percent going into county projects. Non profits are still encouraged to apply but funds must be used for COVID-related projects under the other categories, and not to replenish lost funds due to the pandemic.

In other action, the board:
• will be reviewing a consulting agreement with Public Consulting Group. Public Consulting will provide professional services to help secure Ground Emergency Medical Transportion (GEMT) funding, which is part of the Medicaid system. The group will be paid 9% of federal reimbursements received by the county for ambulance services.

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