El Dorado County to divvy up ARPA funds

Eric Jaramishian
Mountain Democrat

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday heard a presentation on use of American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The presentation was based on guidelines from the United States Department of Treasury, which spells out four categories of eligible uses for the money.

Those categories are public health and economic impacts of COVID-19, premium pay for essential workers, revenue lost due to COVID-19 and investments in infrastructure.

It was explained that funds must be used to respond to effects of COVID-19 in relation to public health and negative economic impacts. The ARPA funds will also be used to offer premium pay for essential workers, which will pay up to $13 per hour in addition to a worker’s regular pay, not exceeding $25,000 per worker.

ARPA funds can also be used to avoid loss of government services due to reduction of revenue and to invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

Funds cannot be used to deposit into pensions.

Supervisors discussed priorities on how to use the money, including road maintenance, water infrastructure, assistance for small businesses and nonprofits.

Chief Administrator Officer Don Ashton said the county should consider closely who gets the assistance from the stimulus package, citing CARES act money and that some businesses are more in need of assistance than others that did get relief.

“Not all businesses were harmed as a result of COVID, in fact some businesses did quite well,” Ashton said, noting that larger nonprofits were able to get grant money from the government, unlike smaller nonprofits.

Board members also discussed the need to put emphasis on bringing awareness to businesses on how they can get stimulus money.

The public present at the meeting showed general agreement with the ARPA discussion.

The county is receiving nearly $37.5 million in two payments, with the first payment received June 1 and the second payment coming one year later.

The money is usable for expenses incurred between March 3 and Dec. 31, 2024. All of the money must be spent by Dec. 31, 2026.

Supervisors discussed and voted unanimously to hire someone on a temporary basis to report on use of ARPA funds.

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