Comptroller Josh Foli presented a plan to spend the first round of ARPA funding. This funding can be used for four purposes:
- To respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts;
- To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to such eligible workers of the recipient, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who performed essential work;
- For the provision of government services, to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such recipient due to the COVID–19 public health emergency, relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the recipient prior to the emergency; and
- To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
The proposed plan provided budgeted funding as follows:
To respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative impacts:
- Personal Protective Equipment and Supplies 100,000
- Lyon County Human Services – Indigent Assistance, 500,000
- Child Care Assistance, Behavioral Health Support Park Repairs & Maintenance 50,000
- Healthy Communities Coalition – Dayton Food Pantry 390,00
Provide Premium Pay for Essential Workers
- Not recommended in this round of funding.
Replace Lost Public Sector Revenue
- Lyon County currently doesn’t qualify.
Invest in Water, Sewer, and Broadband Infrastructure
- Willowcreek GID Costs 50,000
- Silver Springs GID Costs 300,000
Lyon County Utility Costs:
- Rolling A Increase in Capacity 1,500,000
- Rapid Infiltration Basins / Effluent Disposal 1 ,500,000
- Replace Lift Station 2 with Lift Station 2A 1 ,000,000
Contingency to be allocated as needed in the future 195,322
The County Commission, at the September 19, 2021 Commission meeting, had requested staff to address funding the purchase of ambulances, addressing Park repair and maintenance, funding construction at the Dayton Food Pantry and funding shortfalls at the China Springs Youth Facility. Staff provided a report to the Commission on each of these items:
Ambulance purchases for fire districts
- Ambulances are specifically mentioned as eligible purchases under the ARPA revenue loss provision; however, Lyon County does not currently qualify for this provision.
- Ambulance purchases can also be justified under the ARPA responding to the public health emergency provision, but Lyon County does not meet the reasonable, allowable, and allocable costs requirements in federal regulations to pay for the purchase of the requested ambulances.
Park Repairs & Maintenance / Park Improvements
Park repairs & maintenance are specifically discussed in the ARPA Treasury Guidance. “Many governments saw increased use of parks during the pandemic that resulted in damage or increased maintenance needs.” So, park repairs and maintenance are an allowable cost under the responding to the public health emergency or negative impacts provision.
- Park improvements are eligible purchases under ARPA (revenue loss provision); however, Lyon County does not currently qualify for this provision.
- The only other qualifying ARPA provision for park improvements would be the responding to the public health emergency or negative impacts provision. Park improvements are specifically allowed in qualified census tracts (low income areas) in the ARPA guidance; however, Lyon County does not have any qualified census tracts.
- In answer to the frequently asked question: “Would investments in improving outdoor spaces (e.g. parks) be an eligible use of funds as a response to the public health emergency and/or its negative economic impacts?”, the guidance discusses the qualified census tract as an example as well as small business assistance for restaurant patios and facade improvements. It then talks about governments seeing damage or increased maintenance needs. This is a significantly grey area in the guidance, but it is recommended that the ARPA funds be used for park maintenance and repairs and that park improvements be funded from park construction tax.
Health Communities – Dayton Food Bank Request
- The ARPA public health emergency or its negative impacts provision is the only possible place to consider for this request.
- This is not specifically mentioned as an allowable use in the ARPA Act or guidance. Food insecurity is mentioned. Modifying a building for additional capacity at an existing food bank could be justifiable if there has been an increase in usage since COVID that is starting to exceed the capacity of the existing facility.
China Springs Funding Request
- China Springs Youth Camp has requested ARPA funding from Lyon County to help with a revenue reduction they have experienced. Specifically, they are stating that their Medicaid revenue decreased during COVID and they are asking for state funding to make up that shortfall. They are asking the County to fund the legislative budget reduction with ARPA funds. Unfortunately, a reduction in State funding wouldn’t qualify for Lyon County ARPA fund replacement.
The Commission, after a period of debate, approved the proposal except for funding the requested construction at the Dayton Food Bank. The Board requested additional information to determine if and how the fire districts could qualify for the purchase of ambulances and requested information on how other counties plan on spending their ARPA funding. The Commission will address that issue at their next meeting on September 16, 2021.
Lyon County will receive the remainder of the ARPA funding in May of 2022. Lyon County will receive a total amount of 11,170, 643.00, City of Fernley will receive 20,972,921.50 and the City of Yerington will receive 2,677,100.32.