Jefferson Co. Commission Approves Nearly $2 Million in ARPA Spending | Journal-news

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CHARLES TOWN — Jefferson County commissioners voted Thursday to allocate nearly $2 million in ARPA funding to various requesting entities, the majority of which are county departments whose projects are not funded from the general county budget.

Several presentations were made to provide information on the requests made, after which the Commissioners identified their main funding priorities. Topping the list was a request for $322,920 from the Emergency Services Agency for new radios. New purchases will replace years-old equipment that is often not in perfect working order.

ESA director Bob Burner told the committee that the initial request for funding that was made last year was for around $186,000, but prices have jumped and the request is now for additional funds. to cover costs.

“That seems to me to be the highest priority for me,” Commissioner Jane Tabb said, referring to changes underway in the county regarding ambulance services.

The group also approved funding to hire a new CAD administrator who will manage the entire software system in the county.

“This person will be responsible for the complete oversight of the public safety computer system,” 911 Director Jeff Polczynski said.

County Administrator John Nissel defended that position, saying the county is at a critical point with the ambulance service change.

“We are moving very fast,” Nissel said. “There will be a lot of changes in the next six to eight months, and the CAD administrator will be critical.”

The cost of the position is $271,056.

The county also approved $66,000 for technology upgrades to the Charles Town Library meeting room where committee meetings are held, as well as $50,000 to improve the email system that the county county uses to communicate both within the county and with residents. Another $15,000 has been allocated to provide software to the planning department that will allow builders and developers to more easily access their projects both in the planning office and online in general.

Broadband aspirations in the county grew as commissioners spent $600,000 to build four towers to bring wireless connections along with the arrival of fiber companies in the county. Two large towers will be built, one in the Middleway area and one near the county health department. Nissel explained that roommates could potentially be rented out to businesses, which would create revenue for the county. Two smaller towers are also covered by the funds, although their locations have not been specifically named.

The county health department building will see an improvement as $220,000 has been allocated to completely renovate the HVAC in the building. Laura Kuhn, Director of Fleet and Facilities Management, explained that parts of the system are up to 40 years old and replacing the entire system will be energy efficient and save the county on maintenance costs. in the future.

Jefferson County Parks and Recreation requested three amounts for different projects. The first was $600,000 to connect Sam Michaels Park to public water and sewers, which would allow the park to expand, especially the amphitheater. The commissioners agreed to fund $300,000 and encouraged the Parks Department to seek matching funds through state funding for ARPA.

The other two requests, $100,000 for an infrastructure plan for James Hite Park and $220,000 for designated pickleball courts at James Hite Park, were left on the list for consideration but were not funded during Thursday’s round of endorsements.

Jefferson County Community Ministries received approval for $80,000, which was their request during the general budget session. Each year, the county tends to fund the general budget request but had chosen to move it to ARPA funding requests rather than securing general budget funds. The commissioners chose not to fund applications that would help create additional paid positions for case managers at the JCCM, despite being told by their chief financial officer, Michelle Gordon, that the positions would be fundable by ARPA.

“I am not prepared to fund salaries for nonprofit organizations that may not be sustainable,” Commissioner Steve Stolipher said. “It’s different for county government positions.”

An additional request for $250,000 for the capital costs of expanding to a new location was also deferred by the commissioners.

The last two applications that received funding included $10,000 for CASA and $12,000 for the African American Heritage Festival, another project Nissel has championed for saying it’s a worthy and worthy program. a piece of essential cultural heritage for the county.

Additional requests for ARPA funding will be considered at the next special meeting scheduled for August 11 at 9:30 a.m.

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