By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Board of Reno County Commissioners passed their resolution in support of listening to the community as to how federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act are spent on Tuesday.
"This one is just for Reno County to show support of the $12,042,385," said County Administrator Randy Partington. "It does state the four objectives that the Treasury Department has put out for the use of such funds and then the four eligible areas for the ARPA money, support health expenditures and address negative economic impacts, replace lost public sector revenues, provide premium pay for essential workers and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure."
Commissioner Ron Sellers highlighted the fact that the federal government wants public input on this.
"They are asking public entities, counties and cities, to ask the public for what they feel is appropriate," Sellers said. "This process that we're agreeing to, to wait until we make our decisions, to hear their report, I think is in keeping with what the federal government has asked us to do, instead of just elected officials making the final decision."
On the other hand, the resolution does get specific as to whose decision it ultimately is.
"Further resolved, that subject to federally established criteria for eligibility, this Board of County Commissioners shall exercise in its sole discretion the authority to prioritize and distribute ARPA Fiscal Recovery Funds and shall not be bound by any recommendations made by the ARPA Taskforce," Sellers read. "I think this commission is going to have some tough decisions to make and we're not all going to agree at the end, but we're agreeing to listen. Hopefully, whatever will come of that is better than not listening."
The resolution passed unanimously.