Cities Meet Re: American Rescue Plan Funds

Representatives from Henry County towns met with the County Board of Supervisors Wednesday night to talk about using the money from the American Rescue Plan Act signed in March by President Biden.  Supervisor Marc Lindeen set-up the meeting hoping to brainstorm ideas for using the funds to benefit the county as a whole.  Each city is supposed to receive no more than 70% of it’s fiscal year budget.  In total and including the county’s share, the amount could be over 5.5 million dollars. The figures for each city are estimates and based on numbers from the National Association of Counties website. The supervisors had some information to share but for the most part they are waiting for specific guidance on what the funds can be used for, what will the federal requirements be and what kind of paperwork will be required for tracking the use of the funds.  Each individual community has ideas of how that money would be beneficial. For example Winfield needs major sewer improvements.  But Mount Pleasant City Administrator Brent Schleisman challenged the group to think outside the box about how they could leverage the funds to foster something sustainable that would keep enhancing the county. He suggested each city throwing in a portion of their funds to create a revolving loan fund of some sort, maybe one that would support housing or workforce development. Lindeen listed some county-wide issues like childcare, mental health, broadband, county road projects even a rail spur. Mike Norris, with Southeast Iowa Regional Planning, was there and shared information about the Great River Housing Trust Fund and Homes For Iowa. For the most part, the city representatives gained some further information and resources to check out for more information.  The group agreed to meet again and the Supervisors promised to push out more information as they receive more details.