Committee formed to discuss ARP funds


The Jackson County Council is closer to spending the $8.58 million the county was awarded through the American Rescue Plan.

The plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March 2021, awarded $13.81 million to be used toward coronavirus relief for the county and its four municipalities, Brownstown, Seymour, Crothersville and Medora.

A 437-page final rule that details what the ARP funds can be used for was released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on Jan. 6. On the same day, a 44-page overview of that final rule also was released by the same department.

During the county council’s meeting Wednesday morning, a committee was formed to make plans and get ideas for where to spend the county’s ARP funds.

So far, that committee consists of councilmen Brian Thompson, Dave Hall and Brett Turner. Hall said he wanted to add one of the county’s three commissioners to the committee without specifically calling on a particular one and invited department heads in the county to join if interested.

All three councilmen said during a meeting in October 2021 that they did not want to make plans for spending the ARP funding until they knew where the money could be spent.

With the release of the final rule, the committee members said the plan is to have a meeting in February to discuss more about the funds. That meeting will be about consolidating ideas and nothing will be committed.

Thompson said it was his priority to ensure two things: The ARP funds are spent on something that will benefit all of the county’s citizens and on something that will last a long time.

He said government programs tend to be a “shot of sugar” and criticized them for picking “winners and losers” when awarding funding, calling it not fair or good.

When Thompson nominated Hall to be on the committee, Hall said his main concern with being on the committee was that the council already knows what money they have and what time they have to spend it.

According to the final rule, recipients of ARP funds are to decide where to use the money by the end of 2024 and have that money spent by 2026.

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