Communities await rules for stimulus money

By David J. Coehrs -

Fulton County municipalities await their shares of the government’s latest stimulus money but still need information on how and where it may be spent.

The $1.9 million American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed by President Joe Biden on March 11. Also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, the incentive will reportedly provide the following amounts – which are subject to change – to the following local communities, according to the office of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Cleveland):

Fulton County, $8.17 million; Archbold, $850,000; Delta, $610,000; Fayette, $240,000; Lyons, $110,000; Metamora, $120,000; Swanton, $760,000; Wauseon, $1.45 million.

Fulton County itself is waiting for word from the Department of the Treasury for a list of restrictions on spending the money. The job of how to distribute the county’s share will fall to the county commissioners, according to Administrator Vond Hall.

He said Fulton County and its municipalities will receive their shares of ARP funds in equal portions over this year and the next, with the first to be received no later than 60 days after ARP was enacted. The amounts of the allotted payments can change, and are scheduled to be received no sooner than one year apart.

Wauseon Finance Director Jamie Giguere said the city has not yet received a reported $1.45 million in ARP money.

Archbold Administrator Donna Dettling said the village also has yet to receive its ARP funds, and acknowledged its share will arrive in halves, this year and in 2022.

“We are waiting on guidance from the state and-or federal government for use of funds. We have no idea at this time how we will use the funds,” she said.

The village received $286,000 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money distributed in 2020. Dettling said it was spent on personal protection, sanitizing, and air filtration items, as well as laptops, legal consulting, and administrative leave. A portion was used to create Zoom access for remote meetings.

Swanton Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle said at the last Council meeting that there are still a lot of unknowns. “We just want to let you know that we’re following it as best that we can and we’ll continue to get the information so that we can provide it to Council,” she told Council members.

The Village of Delta is also on stand-by for the government’s ARP edicts. “We are waiting for all the information and restrictions that have been or will be placed on the funds,” Administrator Brad Peebles said.

Anything the Village of Lyons receives will be appreciated, Administrator Tanya Lumbrezer said. Depending on the village’s ARP share and government stipulations, the municipality would like to add an email and ePay billing system to its operations. Village officials also would like to make infrastructure upgrades.

The $59,000 in CARES Act funding the village received last year was used to purchase office printers and laptops so that personnel and village council members could conduct Zoom meetings during the pandemic. Air purifiers, automatic soap dispensers, sanitizers, Plexiglas, and other items were also bought to prevent the spread of COVID. Lumbrezer said a utility ATV with a sprayer was included in the list to pick up refuse and sanitize public areas. Additionally, the Lyons Royalton Fire Department was given $14,000 in support.

“All of us in the office, administrator, maintenance, water guys, and Council all put our heads together to decide what was best and needed to spend the money on,” Lumbrezer said.

Hall said Fulton County made good use of its share of $5,230,366.13 in CARES Act funding divided in 2020 between the county itself and its municipalities and townships. The county allotment went to payroll for the sheriff’s office and E911; for an IT upgrade to assist remote working; and to cover increased meal delivery expenses for the Fulton County Senior Center. Nearly $892,000 was approved for distribution among 97 businesses to help them through the pandemic.

The CARES Act “provided Fulton County with direct economic assistance that helped cover costs and unexpected expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These monies preserved jobs and businesses within the county,” Hall said.

By David J. Coehrs

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.