McDONOUGH — Henry County is taking steps to decide how the county will spend $45.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
A presentation led by Director of Financial Services David Smith at the January 5 Council of Commissioners meeting discussed how residents, government departments and community partners would like to use the money.
The community survey results asked residents to rank in order of importance where help is most needed. Residents chose food and nutrition first, followed by health or mental health assistance, utility assistance, job search, and broadband assistance in fifth place.
Here are the requests made by ministries and community partners:
Henry County Sheriff’s Office
Supervision enhancements ($500,000) and salary coverage ($100,000) for a total of $600,000.
Henry County Water Authority
Water and sewer expansion for a total request of $6,460,000.
Broadband installation in 10 parks located in low-income areas at a cost of $500,000.
Recovery and revitalization plan including repairs to the parking lot, renovation of the multimedia center, renovation of the garage and a new public address system. The total claims amount to $10.5 million.
Recruitment and retention bonuses for a total cost of $3.5 million.
District Attorney’s Office
Commercial office space tent, moving expenses, furniture allowance and cosmetic renovations. The total cost is to be determined.
Henry County Chamber of Commerce
Community and business projects include broadband, vaccination clinic locations, child care funding, mental health and addictions support, minority loan program, local business development in line, microloans for small businesses and the Shop Henry incentive program.
Enterprise project applications total $1.075 million. Pricing for community projects is to be determined.
Digitization project with a total cost of $1.015 million.
Henry County Community Gardens
Garden project to increase families growing their own food at a cost of $6,000.
Firewall software licenses for $15,000.
Conversion of county facilities to free access (restrooms, concessions, etc.). The total cost remains to be determined.
The total cost of all proposed projects is $23.6 million. If the requested projects are approved as is, the county will have a total of $21.8 million remaining in ARPA funds.
According to ARPA guidelines, plans for spending funds must be in place by December 31, 2024. Projects must be completed by December 31, 2026.
They should be used to support urgent COVID-19 response efforts; replace lost income for vital public jobs; support the immediate economic stabilization of households and businesses; and addressing systemic public health and economic challenges.
Smith said he plans to appear before the BOC with a recommendation in the coming months, but not before holding virtual town hall meetings to ask the community “where they feel help is most needed. “.
“We want to make sure that we consider what our community wants to do when we come up with a plan for how we spend our money that will impact the community as a whole,” he said.
At the request of Commissioner Vivian Thomas, the community survey should be re-released to allow other residents to respond.