Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Brunswick to approve draft spending strategy for $27.6 million in ARP funds

Brunswick County will submit an application on behalf of “Project Touchdown” to the N.C. Department of Commerce to help an unnamed Leland company secure $100,000 in infrastructure financing. (Port City Daily/File photo)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY –– Seven months after it was signed into law, Brunswick County will outline its spending strategy for the $27.69 million it anticipates receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act. 

The Biden administration’s federal Covid-19 financing package arrived without guidelines, which prompted many local governments to delay identifying strategies as they awaited specific rules that would get tied to the funding. 

RELATED: New Hanover makes updates to spending strategy for federal Covid-19 relief

Some local governments, including New Hanover County, outlined priorities before receiving the guidelines. Many reworked strategies thereafter.

Brunswick County is set to soon receive its second allotment of funds, at $13.87 million. Federal requirements mandate the county use the funding by the end of 2026 and obligate it by the end of 2024. 

County commissioners will approve a draft spending guideline Tuesday. Each of the items identified will be further investigated by staff before being subject to final approval by commissioners at a later date. 

Federal guidelines allow expenditures for the following uses: 1. To replace revenue lost due to the pandemic in the provision of government services; 2. To assist small businesses, households, or hard-hit industries impacted by the pandemic; 3. To provide premium pay for essential workers; 4. To invest in utilities, stormwater, and broadband infrastructure. 

Commissioners will meet Tuesday at 3 p.m. to review the outline strategy.

The draft priorities are below:

  • Water and sewer projects — $13.5 million

Funds will be attributed to capital expansion and/or replacement of a water and sewer utility to improve service levels, promote system expansion, and upgrade cyber-security features

  • Community investment and enhancement — $6.2 million

The county will allot $6.2 million toward small business grants, nonprofit community assistance, a housing and weatherization program, implementing a lead and copper remediation program, parks and recreation capital projects, library services enhancement, and parking lot improvements at Brunswick Community College for a mass vaccination site.

  • County improvement projects — $3.8 million

These funds will go toward capital construction expenses for health and human services, IT improvements, compensating essential workers, installing an air purification system in county buildings, and PPE expenses. 

  • Future projects — $2.7 million

The county will set aside these funds for unidentified future projects. 

  • Administrative expenses — $1.38 million

About $1.4 million will be attributed to administrative or reporting expenses associated with meeting federal regulations with the funding.

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