Lee County received its first half of American Rescue Plan Act money. But when the second installment arrives, it will total around $6.6 million.
So far, the county has spent or appropriated $943,507.
This includes $250,000 for social service organizations, nearly $200,000 for new election equipment, $157,000 for conference room technology upgrades, $120,000 in health department permit fees for businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19, $100,000 for Agriculture Program Expansion at Sauk Valley Community College, $25,000 for Regional Office of Education, $22,000 for Lee County Tourism, $44,000 $ in administrative costs and $10,000 to The Next Picture Show art gallery.
This leaves approximately $2.36 million available from the first funding allocation.
The county council agreed to extend its social services funding scheme on Thursday after receiving no applications. The program provides area nonprofit community service organizations that provide assistance to individuals and households with up to $10,000 in funds. An application can be found at leecountyil.com.
The council also approved up to $250,000 for technology upgrades to the third floor meeting room of the Old Lee County Courthouse. Board member Jim Schielein said they had bids for the broad scope of work, but needed to get some questions answered before making a formal recommendation to the board.
Funds from the SVCC agricultural program would go towards building a greenhouse and implementing remote learning opportunities in precision agriculture.
From April 1, several new rules will be in place to ease restrictions on how governments can spend the money on certain categories of public services, such as public health, negative economic impacts, small businesses, public sector capacity, capital expenditure and water/sewer. Infrastructure.
In the public health category, changes include capital expenditures for affordable housing, schools, hospitals, and daycares as well as additional uses for medical expenditures and behavioral health care.
Funding may also be used to improve vacant or derelict properties, including rehabilitation, maintenance, renovation, environmental remediation, demolition or deconstruction, greening/cleaning up vacant land, and conversion in affordable housing.
Other small business uses disproportionately affected are rehabilitation of commercial properties, enhancement of storefronts and facades; technical assistance and business incubators, grants for start-up/expansion costs; and support for micro-enterprises, including finance, childcare and transport costs.
Changes in the public sector allow hiring 7.5% above pre-pandemic baselines; provide additional funding to employees who have taken pay cuts or been laid off; maintaining current pay levels to avoid layoffs; provide incentives for worker retention, including reasonable increases in compensation; and pay administrative costs associated with hiring, support and retention programs.
It also changes capital spending by requiring less reporting for projects costing less than $1 million that meet a community’s public health and economic conditions.
Capital expenditures that are generally ineligible are the construction of new correctional facilities in response to an increase in crime, the construction of new community facilities to reduce the spread of COVID, and the construction of convention centers/stadiums for the general economic development.
Changes to water and sewer infrastructure include repair of culverts, resizing, removal, replacement of storm sewers and other types of storm water infrastructure; and other projects related to drinking water improvement, dam/reservoir rehabilitation and sanitation projects.
The county is also exploring an exemption for governments receiving less than $10 million, which would significantly reduce reporting requirements for the use of funds.