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Supervisors discuss ARPA funding projects

Marshall County Auditor Nan Benson spoke to the Board of Supervisors during the regular Tuesday meeting about possible projects that could receive money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

Benson said the project funding requests she has total $8.5 million.

“Which is more than what we have,” she said.

Supervisor Dave Thompson asked if that $8.5 million was only for projects in Marshall County. Benson said the majority of the requests are, but $1.7 million are outside of the county, leaving $6.6 million inside.

“Now I still have several department heads working on pulling numbers, so we don’t have all of our county projects yet,” she said. “We just want some direction following the Marshalltown Arts & Civic Center discussion — what kind of numbers do we want to start with for outside of Marshall County projects?”

Benson assured the supervisors the funding can be increased later as more information about the ARPA continues to be received. So far, she said projects are supposed to be committed by Sept. 31, 2024.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint, so we need to gather information, make good decisions. We’ve got a long haul through all of this,” Benson said.

Thompson said he was working with an aide of Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to use some ARPA funds for the emergency communication system upgrade. However, he had not yet heard from the U.S. Department of Treasury about that.

“Quite honestly, when we’re all said and done, the projects we’re going to have that are just Marshall County projects are going to exceed all funds we’re getting from the federal government,” Thompson said.

Benson said she is struggling with it because it is federal money, so all taxpayers will help pay it back.

“It would be nice if we didn’t have to increase the county property tax,” she said.

Thompson would like the county to use the ARPA funds for capital improvement projects in the five-year plan. By using the money to address those, he said the taxpayers would not have to worry about them.

Thompson said the county needs to take care of its own needs first and then switch focus to other entities. Benson said cities and school districts are all getting their own ARPA funding.

“I think it would be a very prudent thing to do to take care of our capital projects rather than fund everybody else,” Thompson said.

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Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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