Blaine County has allocated some $3.6 million of the almost $4.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding it will receive from the federal government to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis by county staff released last week.

As of May 4, 2022, the county received $2,235,779.50 from fiscal year 2021 and is set to receive an additional $2,235,779.50 in fiscal year 2022, bringing the grand total of ARPA funding to $4,471,559. This money can be distributed to cover the various budgetary expenses of the county, as well as fund entities in the county that have applied for a share of the ARPA funds.

The county has earmarked $1.5 million for its own operations. Approximately $842,000 has been distributed to the various internal expenses, which includes $120,000 for IT/firewall protection, $350,000 for emergency communication purposes, $50,000 for county facilities, $20,000 for the county clerk’s office, $132,000 to the IT department for Microsoft Office 365 migration, and $170,000 for HVAC and lighting upgrades on county facilities. Of the $1.5 million requested, the county has a remaining $658,000 balance for internal departments.

The board allocated $2,971,559 to other county commitments for the next three fiscal year’s budgets. The county has already spent $193,377.74 of these allocated funds in fiscal year 2021 and 2022, while an additional $73,500 are budgeted to be spent in the remainder of fiscal year 2022. Anticipated commitments for fiscal year 2023 and 2024 total $434,000, or $217,000 each year.

Approved allocations from February and March include Swiftsure Ranch, set to receive $12,000; Men’s Second Chance Living, set to receive $49,000; The Blaine County Housing Authority for $45,000; Sun Valley Culinary Institute for $2,889; the Blaine County Charitable Fund for $49,000; and the ARCH Community Housing Trust for $990,000.

Approved allocations for April include the Space Idaho, set to receive $20,900; the Crisis Hotline for $29,200; The Argyros for $42,845; The Hunger Coalition for $49,900; and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation—Idaho for $25,000. Along with future medical director funding, COVID mitigations, vaccine information videos and future relocation efforts for Blaine County employees, an additional $75,941 have been allocated, bringing the grand total of county commitment expenses to $2,089,053.24, leaving a remaining $882,505.76 in commitment ARPA funds.

As of May 12, 2022, the board has not taken action on the remaining funds. 

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