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County ARPA spending tops $10 million in 2021

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County has spent quite a bit of the $12.3 million it has received from the federal government from the American Rescue Plan Act.

At the legislature’s December meeting, county officials announced that this year they have finalized spending $10,178,194.

For the past few months, the legislature has been giving final approval to various projects. December’s spending projects were as follows:

¯ County Internet Bandwidth Upgrades Project — $40,338. This money will be used to improve the bandwidth for the county’s internet system.

¯ Emergency Message Boards Project — $30,000. This money will be used by the county’s Emergency Services Department to purchase two digital message board. The message boards sit on a trailer and are towed to a location and put on display to direct traffic or to inform drivers of an emergency.

¯ Emergency Medical Service Gear Project — $121,000. This money will be used to purchase defibrillator units and CPR devices for the county’s fly cars and ambulances.

¯ Emergency Services Office Upgrades Project — $41,500. This money will be used to upgrade the technology of the Office of Emergency Services Department.

¯ Emergency Services Dive Boat Project — $135,000. This money will be used to replace a dive boat that was damaged and is no longer in service. It will be used on Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake.

¯ Emergency Services Paving Project — $250,000. This money will be used to pave an exit behind the Office of Emergency Services garage in Mayville. Once paved, the county can use it to host drive through vaccination clinics.

¯ Office of Emergency Services Communication Project — $175,000. This money will be used to upgrade the county’s radio communication system.

¯ District Attorney Office Expansion Project — $70,000. This money will be used to expand the district attorney’s office into the closed print shop. The money includes remodeling and new furniture. Officials said this will spread out the staff and give a private conference and interview room when talking to victims.

¯ Environmental Permit Fee Waiver Program — $120,000. This program will waive the public health fees required for the next two years for select business, such as restaurants, swimming pools, and temporary food service vendors. The waiver program was previously backed by the county’s Board of Health. The purpose is to help businesses that have been hurt by the pandemic.

¯ Strong Starts Chautauqua Projects — $25,300 for 2021 and $226,700 for 2022. The money will be used to implement universal screenings for all children from birth to 5 years old. The purpose is to identify children who have been exposed to substances and alcohol prenatally. The screenings will help diagnose children and get them the proper treatment. During the full legislature meeting, Legislator Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, noted that Chautauqua County has been approved for $24.6 million in funds. Half of that money has been received with the remaining $12.3 million expected in 2022.

Earlier this year, the county put forth a two-year spending plan with the agreement that each item would need to be further reviewed before it could be spent. The county has made some minor adjustments from its original spending plan. The biggest change was it refused to move forward on a study required to bring back commercial airlines to the Jamestown airport.

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. The $1.9 trillion package, based on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, is intended to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including the public health and economic impacts. Of that $1.9 trillion, Chautauqua County was awarded $24.6 million. The federal government does not permit the funds to be used for employee raises, pay down debt or lower taxes. Chautauqua County officials earlier this year determined it would use its money for public health, infrastructure, economic/workforce development, clean water, public safety, and a couple of miscellaneous projects.

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