Warren County Supervisors to vote on nine ARPA requests

Published 3:59 pm Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Warren County Board of Supervisors will decide Monday whether nine nonprofit organizations will receive a share of $149,000 in American Recovery Plan Act funds.

Board Vice President Shawn Jackson said the group includes local veterans’ organizations and youth groups.

“The veterans’ groups, a lot of their work was around youth and that was really straightforward,” she said. “So we have five youth groups and four veterans’ groups. We have also agreed to fund 11 more youth groups that are providing additional information in coming (future) meetings.”

The groups approved Monday will be the first to receive county ARPA funds. Warren County has received $8.8 million in American Recovery Plan Act funds, which were approved by Congress to help revive the economy in the wake of shutdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board of Supervisors selected the initial organizations at a Monday work session where board members went over requests by youth groups.

“We did a true vetting of the requests that were primarily youth Monday,” Jackson said. “It ended up being worthy projects that fit with the letter of the law of ARPA and the county’s priorities.”

She said the total amount of the youth-based requests totaled more than $600,000, adding some requests will require further information about the projects.

“We did decide to vote affirmatively on $149,000 of that amount and those were projects where we didn’t need any additional information and we thought was a good place to start,” Jackson said.

She said the board’s approach to dealing with fund allocations was to develop a strategy and hold public meetings to find out the need. She said the public requests were split into 10 categories with an estimate of funds attached to each category.

Some items, she said, like $300,000 for repairs to the Warren County Health Department were immediate needs.

The supervisors held a series of public hearings on the funds, Jackson said, adding when the funding requests were received they were assigned to a category. The board is taking each category one at a time, determining what programs qualify and fit the board’s criteria and then moving on.

“Those categories are really a rough guide based on the priority and the use,” Jackson said.

Youth services, she said, was the first category addressed by the board. The next category to be addressed, she said, is housing followed by tourism “and we’ll just keep going methodically through them.”

She said some items like water were not included because there are other potential revenue sources like federal infrastructure funds and possible ARPA matching funds from the state.

“We’re going to have to have another (vetting) session but I think once we get the method down … we’ve got 121 requests and we’ve gone over close to 50, considering the ones we’ve decided against and Monday and we still have three years (to allocate the money).”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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