Board of County Commissioners Approves ARPA Spending Plan Through 2024
(Sedgwick County, Kan.) - The Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a spending plan today for nearly $67 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Close to $60 million of that will support ongoing efforts to help Sedgwick County and its residents recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on our health and economy. Another $6.8 million will go into a contingency fund. This spending plan allocates ARPA funds from April 1, 2022 through Dec. 21, 2024. Some highlights of today’s decision:
- $15.7 million to the Sedgwick County Health Department for COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and outreach to boost vaccination rates and to be prepared in case of another COVID-19 surge.
- $17.5 million to the District Courts, District Attorney’s Office, Sedgwick County Jail and Department of Corrections to address a backlog of court cases and the ripple effects, due to courts closing for months during the pandemic.
- $5.2 million to the Sedgwick County Jail to install surveillance cameras to monitor unmanned pods for low-risk inmates, due to staffing challenges.
- $1.4 million to Recovery Connect, a community navigator program that connects families, businesses and non-profits with resources to help them recover from the negative impacts of COVID-19.
These items continue or expand recovery efforts started last year, when ARPA became law in March 2021 and awarded Sedgwick County just over $100 million in total. From that, the BOCC dedicated more than $33 million through the first quarter of 2022 to provide vital community services and free COVID-19 vaccinations and testing at multiple sites around Sedgwick County. Other recovery efforts funded by ARPA include:
- Additional pay to reward and retain essential county employees who worked directly with the public during a COVID-19 health order.
- Increased COVID-19 related staffing and remote technology in multiple county departments.
- Plans to add four courtrooms and specialty criminal dockets to the Sedgwick County Courthouse to address a backlog of court cases, made worse by the pandemic.
- Work in progress to free up space in the Sedgwick County Courthouse by relocating administrative offices to the Ruffin building.
The BOCC determined the top recovery needs in Sedgwick County from research done by county staff, along with ARPA consultants for Sedgwick County. Commissioners then prioritized their uses of ARPA funding to benefit the highest number of Sedgwick County residents in the most impactful ways. By adding programs, personnel and services that are fully funded by ARPA, the BOCC assures residents they will not face higher taxes in the future to pay for these improvements.
ARPA funding builds upon earlier stimulus programs by the federal government, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act (CARES). In April 2020, Sedgwick County received nearly $100 million from CARES and helped many local agencies, businesses, and municipalities respond to COVID:
- $15.5 million to 80 public health, social service agencies
- $14.8 million to 10 cities in Sedgwick County
- $14.3 million for COVID-19 related staffing
- $6.4 million to 1,302 businesses, non-profits
- $5 million to K-12 schools
- $4 million to support COVID-19 testing at WSU Molecular Diagnostic Lab
- $3.3 million for County Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- $3.0 million for PPE kits for businesses, nonprofits
- $1.9 million for workforce development
Likewise, several other COVID-19 recovery resources are still available to Sedgwick County residents:
- Recovery Connect community navigators
- State SPARK funding programs
- TASK grants (Tourism Attraction Sub-Grants)
- BASE grants (Building a Stronger Economy)
- Build Back Better Regional Challenge
- Kanas Emergency Rental Assistance program
- Kansas Homeowner Assistance Fund
- Connect & Learn Initiative
- Hero Relief Fund
- Funeral Assistance Program