HUNTSVILLE — Walker County officials are currently developing a plan on how to spend over $14 million in federal allocations.
This plan is surrounding Walker County’s first round of relief spending through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden signed into law in March, with $350 billion to be allocated to help local governments across the country reeling from pandemic impact.
As it stands now, nearly 10% of Walker County’s funding would cover approximately $1.2 million in reimbursements for lost revenue. However, how the remaining $13 million will be spent remains a question.
“We aren’t in the water and sewer business, but every county and city in America is doing things to spend this money,” Pct. 3 Commissioner Bill Daugette told officials from GrantWorks — the county’s hand-picked grant administrator.
County officials said that they will be seeking public input and suggestions from GrantWorks during a meeting later this month in an effort to allocate the rest of the funds.
“The money has to be obligated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026,” county auditor Patricia Allen said. “Even money that is allocated to cover revenue loss still has to be spent for a specific government function, but it doesn’t have to meet other requirements.”
Walker County has received nearly half of its allocation, with the rest expected to be received in July 2022.
Popular purchases with American Rescue Plan funds have included EMS equipment, fire trucks, police cars and IT infrastructure. Surrounding counties are also using the funds to encourage COVID-19 vaccines and bring more health care workers to their area.
In other business, members of the Walker County Commissioners Court:
• renewed its COVID-19 Disaster Declaration.
• ratified the county-wide burn ban.
• approved the reclassification of the secretary for the Walker County Sheriff’s Office to a certified peace officer position.
The next scheduled meeting of the Walker County Commissioners Court is set for Sept. 27.