Livingston County has started the process of distributing grants and funding allotments as part of their multi-year spending plan of one-time federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) stimulus monies.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is a federal bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. It was created to support projects that provide for economic resiliency and enhance communities negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Livingston County government is slated to receive approximately $12,200,000 from ARPA over two distributions, with a requirement that all funds be spent by the end of calendar year 2024.
At their May 25 meeting, the County’s Board of Supervisors announced commitments to broadband, technology, community development, and mental health resources, among other priorities, using ARPA funds.
To date, the Board has approved five initiatives:
· $350,000 to URMC Noyes Health for a Mental Health Project Grant to help expand mental health presence and services into northern Livingston County, specifically into the Avon community, to meet the need and expressed requests for services from primary care physicians and patients in the community.
· $500,000 to the Livingston County Land Bank Corporation for an Operations and Initiatives grant to continue the Land Bank’s residential rehabilitation and demolition program. New potential projects include leveraging funds for a mobile and manufactured home replacement program and supportive housing development.
· $500,000 to the Livingston County Tourism Office for a multi-year LivCo Tourism Festivals & Events Fund, which will be used to promote, enhance, expand and market new or existing festivals and events in Livingston County by introducing an elevated level of attraction for attendees from other areas.
· $178,000 to the Village of Lima for a Broadband Expansion grant to support the matching requirements of a federal grant to expand fiber-to-the-home for approximately 700 village address points in a public-private partnership with Empire Access.
· $750,000 for a Livingston County Information and Technology department initiative to improve and strengthen County information technology infrastructure and to reduce the threat of growing cybersecurity risks, while also providing a better end user experience for County staff.
“The ARPA funding is a once-in-a-generation funding opportunity. We are working hard to maximize these one-time dollars and infuse them into the community on a case-by-case basis with an emphasis on county government, small business, community and economic development and technology/broadband,” said Livingston County Board of Supervisors Chairman David LeFeber.
In addition to these ARPA funded initiatives, the County Board of Supervisors also allocated $1,132,500 in one-time 2021 funds for two additional projects:
· $132,500 to the Livingston County Educational Alliance / Livingston County Chamber of Commerce for the career awareness and career exploration platform that directly connects employers on the job site to students in the classroom, in real-time.
· $1,000,000 to the Livingston County Development Corporation for the Invested In You Partnership. The partnership combines funding and technical support designed to leverage the County’s historic downtowns, natural assets, and the economic drivers found in Livingston’s agriculture, food production, and small business industries and its innovative entrepreneurs to enhance the County’s natural and cultural attractions.
Dr. Chad Teeters, President and CEO of Noyes Health in Dansville, stated, “These funds will extend the reach of Noyes Mental Health and expand mental health care delivery to the northern part of Livingston County. This is primarily to respond to a request from primary care providers in the region to get mental health resources closer to where these patients are coming from but also due to a growing referral population coming out of the pandemic from that northern part of Livingston. We just constructed an Avon Mental Health Campus with eight treatment rooms and one group therapy room where we’ll actually be delivering mental health counseling and prescribing services out of that building.”
Angela Ellis, Livingston County Land Bank Corporation Executive Director, said, “The Livingston County Land Bank seeks to improve the housing stock in the County by rehabilitating or removing blighted properties and returning them to stable use. The Livingston County disbursement of ARPA funds will greatly help this organization meets its mission and build stronger communities. This investment highlights the County’s trust and belief in the organization and its work. The Land Bank thanks the Board of Supervisors for their continued support.”
Melissa Hughes, Director of Tourism for Livingston County, explained, “We see this competitive fund as an opportunity to not only welcome fresh new experiences for our visitors but to enhance existing festivals and events in Livingston County that have been affected in recent years. Though this is a tourism-facing initiative, Livingston County Tourism believes enhancing festivals and events in the region will also enhance our residents’ quality of life.”
Lima Mayor John Skiptunas added, “With the onset of COVID and more people working from home, this funding is going to provide them an outstanding source of internet access. The service flowing from Empire Access will be constant at an improved speed and will be second to none. Residents are going to be saving a significant amount of money on their internet bill as the flat fee, including connections, hardware and taxes, is just $50. We live in a community that has a lot of seniors on a fixed income and this is going to keep within their budget and hopefully allow them to afford other luxuries.”
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