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How Flagler County plans to spend $22 million in American Rescue Plan funds

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Flagler County has a plan in place to spend its share of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed into law in March that includes $350 billion for state and local governments across the country that can be used in several ways to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We received the first of two waves of the money allocated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury – about $11.18 million – in May,” said Interim Chief of Staff Heidi Petito. “The second is anticipated in June 2022.”

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Petito made a presentation to the Board of County Commissioners at its regular June 7 meeting to present identified priorities and to explain the Department of the Treasury’s allocations and spending guidelines for the $22.35 million headed to the county as part of the American Rescue Plan.

Unlike the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that was released to Flagler County through the State of Florida, ARPA monies are distributed directly from the federal government.

The county will have until the end of 2024 to allocate the funds. They will be used based on federal guidelines, which include:

  • Support public health efforts to continue to decrease spread of the virus and bring the pandemic under control.
  • Replace lost public sector revenue to strengthen support for vital public services and help retain jobs.
    Invest in building, maintaining or upgrading water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
  • Petito presented staff identified priorities of which $9.9 million align with the legislative priorities of the Board of County Commissioners. Just as the federal funds will be received in two waves, project spending was divided in two phases.

Phase 1 projects include the following:

  • Provide water and sewer infrastructure to underserved areas – $1.8 million
  • Expand access to mental health therapy – $500,000
  • Reimburse revenue lost due to COVID-19 – $1 million
  • COVID related expenses not already reimbursed – $250,000
  • Mental Health Clinic initiatives – $300,000
  • Provide funds to the Florida Governmental Utility Authority to expand water and sewer infrastructure, especially in the Plantation Bay area – $1.5 million
  • Expand sewer infrastructure at MalaCompra and Bing’s Landing – $3.3 million
  • Network upgrades, including Office 365, to increase County’s ability to telework effectively – $1 million
  • Expand program space for Florida Department of Health-Flagler – $80,000
  • Contribute to expanding broadband capabilities to under and unserved areas of the County – $1 million
  • Expand water and sewer infrastructure at Bull Creek Campground – $150,000
  • Develop county storm water drainage plan – $296,568
    “We will be bringing back details of the Mental Health Clinic in the upcoming weeks,” Petito told the Commission of its top funding legislative priority.

Phase 2 projects include the following:

  • Implement county storm water drainage plan – $1.2 million
  • Reimburse revenue lost due to COVID-19 – $1 million
  • Expand water and sewer infrastructure at the Florida Agricultural Museum – $1.6 million
  • Expand water and sewer infrastructure at the Princess Place Preserve – $2.3 million
  • Reduce close contact with customers at the Tax Collector’s Office by installing drive-thru window – $125,000
  • Implement pandemic mitigation measures at public facilities – $4 million
  • Increase availability of public restroom facilities in support of public health – $448,135
  • Network upgrades, including Office 365, to increase County’s ability to telework effectively – $500,000
  • Water and sewer infrastructure projects will utilize about 54% of the funding, followed by expenditures on public health at 32%. Replacing loss of revenue will account for 9% of the funding. Broadband infrastructure projects will use 4.5% of the funding.

In 2020 and the first part of this year, Flagler County ensured that $9,786,014 in federal stimulus money made it into the hands of 4,634 residents and 701 small businesses through three programs: CARES Individual Assistance; CARES Small Business Grants; and, Coronavirus Relief Funds that were made available through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

Written By

Flagler County Public Information Officer

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