El Paso County outlines spending of federally allocated funds to ease pandemic impacts

Originally posted at Colorado Springs Indy:

El Paso County has spent roughly 19 percent of the $140 million it’s been awarded through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, designed to cushion impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The largest allocation of the county’s money, $34 million, is earmarked for public safety and the county’s response to the disease.

The next largest amount, $23 million, has been set aside for economic recovery and impacts, such as to businesses, nonprofits and agencies that work to promote regional tourism, a particularly hard-hit segment of the local economy, which relies heavily on visitors, according to a Feb. 22 presentation to county commissioners by the county’s chief finance officer Nikki Simmons.

Of that total, more than $13 million has been allocated so far.

Commissioners also earmarked ARPA money for water infrastructure, public health, stormwater projects, road projects, community impact and broadband improvements.

The allocation for roads was particularly welcome, considering voters rejected a commissioners’ ballot measure last November to retain $15 million in Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights excess funds for roads and parks.

The county hopes to spend $24 million in ARPA on roads this year — $14 million from the county’s budget and an additional $10 million in ARPA money after the federal government modified requirements in December to allow road improvements as an avenue of spending for ARPA money.

“We’re really excited about that [rule change] because, as you know, one of our biggest priorities at the county is roads,” Simmons said.


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