OUR OPINION: Where we stand on ARPA allocations

Published 4:00 am Friday, September 8, 2023

In today’s edition, and in The Vicksburg Post’s weekend edition, readers will get a look at how the City of Vicksburg and Warren County have spent their American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

These millions in unprecedented federal funds were awarded in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and have the potential to reshape communities across the country. ARPA funds also require diligent record-keeping on behalf of the distributing entities and the organizations that receive them.

It’s no secret that between Warren County and Vicksburg, there are a host of problems to address. The beauty of ARPA is that our local governing bodies can address their problems without an increased cost to the taxpayer.

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Necessary facility upgrades, like a new roof and chiller at the Warren County Health Department, were a welcome sight. The collaboration that brought about the Vicksburg-Warren Youth Development Center is another great example of putting forth resources to address one of our most pressing issues, youth violence and delinquency.

Small allocations for outreach programs have brought funding — and improved services — directly into pockets of the community that need the most help.

The City of Vicksburg and Warren County still have another year to obligate ARPA funds, and two more years after that to spend them. And contrary to what the rumor mill might want residents to believe, a significant portion of the city and county’s funds are still available.

As the ARPA deadline looms closer,  it’s only natural that residents can expect to see larger projects being approved and more changes being made in Vicksburg and Warren County.

ARPA funds can be used for revenue replacement for government services, assistance to small businesses, households, hard-hit industries and economic recovery, premium pay for essential workers and investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

If you have an idea that falls into one of those categories, reach out to your supervisor or alderman. Chances are, they’ll be open to hearing your idea.