Warren County Commissioners Discuss American Rescue Plan Money

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WARREN (Erie News Now) – We are continuing to monitor your money as it gets spent through the American Rescue Plan and now our focus is on Warren County.

Warren County doesn’t have a specific plan laid out about how they plan to distribute all the money. But Commissioners say they do have ideas of what they want the money to go towards.

As Warren County Commissioners consider how to spend 7.6 million dollars in federal money. They said they have a lot of questions about how it can be used.

Jeff Eggleston, a Commissioner explained, “That’s part of our evaluation too is to try and figure out from the Treasury what we can use the money for and what we can’t and until that ironed out 100 percent, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done with it.”

County Commissioners said they have plenty of ideas with what things they can do with this money, but first they need more guidance from the Treasury’s Office to make these ideas into plans.

They said a portion will be used for smaller housekeeping items, like paying a pandemic specialist, updating digital systems and coming up with an emergency operations plan for county government.

Benjamin Kaffelin, the Chairman of the Warren County Commissioners explained, “Those are all small ticket items that in the grand scheme of millions of dollars, is not going to cost the count very much.”

One thing they plan to upgrade is the county’s website.  They want it to be a point of contact between the government. They plan to include a tracker so the community can see how the money is spent.

Some of these smaller projects are already underway.

Tricia Durbin, a Warren County Commissioner talked about how they want to use some of the money, “We definitely want to use these dollars to benefit as many citizens in this community as possible and use them for the best.

Outside of government, their biggest plan include broadband for the county, which they know could take years to complete.

They’ve already formed a broadband task force which is made up of people from the community, internet providers and school board members.

“As we look around, we are thinking part of that value for most of the people in this community will be the broadband effort that we move forward with”, explained Durbin.

As far as how the rest of the money is spent, they have ideas but are also open to the public’s input.

“We are hearing some needs for local nonprofits some Municipal projects where they didn’t get enough ARPA money in order to, let’s say a sewer or water program, they are asking us to help bridge the gap.” explained Commissioner Kaffelin.

Commissioners said right now, it’s all about preparing for the projects they want to achieve.

“At this time we are not making any real decisions, we are just waiting , collecting those ideas, gaining feedback and like the others have said when we get the guidance, we will make a decision”, concluded Commissioner Kaffelin.

Commissioners say they have reached out to the Treasury department to get clarification, they hope to hear back in the next month.

If you have an idea, you can call the Commissioner Chief Clerk Pam Matve at 814-724-3402.


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