Livingston County has begun the process of distributing funding grants and stipends as part of its multi-year federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) one-time stimulus fund spending plan.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is a federal bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. It was created to support projects that build economic resilience and improve communities negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Livingston County government is expected to receive approximately $12,200,000 from ARPA over two distributions, with a requirement that all funds be expended by the end of calendar year 2024.
At its May 25 meeting, the County Board of Supervisors announced commitments to broadband, technology, community development and mental health resources, among other priorities, using ARPA funds. .
To date, the Board has approved five initiatives:
$350,000 to URMC Noyes Health for a mental health project grant to help expand mental health presence and services in northern Livingston County, particularly in the community of Avon, to meet the needs and expressed requests for services from primary care physicians and patients in the community.
· $500,000 to the Livingston County Land Bank Corporation for an operating and initiatives grant to continue the Land Bank’s residential rehabilitation and demolition program. Potential new projects include raising funds for a mobile and manufactured home replacement program and the development of supportive housing.
$500,000 to the Livingston County Office of Tourism for a multi-year LivCo Tourism Festivals and Events Fund, which will be used to promote, enhance, develop and market new or existing festivals and events in Livingston County by introducing a high level of attraction for participants from other regions.
$178,000 to the Village of Lima for a Broadband Expansion Grant to meet corresponding requirements for a federal grant to extend fiber to the home for approximately 700 village address points as part of a a public-private partnership with Empire Access.
$750,000 for a Livingston County Department of Information and Technology initiative to improve and strengthen the county’s information technology infrastructure and reduce the threat of growing cybersecurity risks, while providing a better end-user experience for county staff.
“The ARPA funding is a once-in-a-generation funding opportunity. We work hard to maximize these one-time dollars and inject them into the community on a case-by-case basis with a focus on county government, small business, community and economic development, and technology/broadband,” the Livingston said. County Board of Supervisors Chairman David LeFeber.
In addition to these ARPA-funded initiatives, the County Board of Supervisors has also allocated $1,132,500 in 2021 one-time funds for two additional projects:
· $132,500 to the Livingston County Educational Alliance/Livingston County Chamber of Commerce for the Outreach and Career Exploration Platform that directly connects employers on the jobsite to students in the classroom, in real time.
· $1,000,000 to the Livingston County Development Corporation for the Invested In You partnership. The partnership combines funding and technical support designed to leverage the county’s historic town centers, natural assets and economic drivers found in farming, food production and small businesses in Livingston and its innovative entrepreneurs to improve the natural and cultural attractions of the county.
Dr. Chad Teeters, President and CEO of Noyes Health in Dansville, said, “These funds will extend the reach of Noyes Mental Health and expand the delivery of mental health care to the northern part of Livingston County. This is primarily in response to a request from primary care providers in the region to bring mental health resources closer to where these patients are coming from, but also due to a growing reference population coming out of pandemic in this northern part of Livingston. We just built an Avon Mental Health Campus with eight treatment rooms and a group therapy room where we will actually provide mental health counseling and prescription services from this building.
Angela Ellis, Executive Director of Livingston County Land Bank Corporation, said, “Livingston County Land Bank seeks to improve the housing stock in the county by rehabilitating or removing derelict properties and returning them to stable use. Livingston County’s disbursement of ARPA funds will go a long way in helping this organization fulfill its mission and build stronger communities. This investment highlights the county’s trust and belief in the organization and its work. The Land Bank thanks the Supervisory Board for its continued support.
Melissa Hughes, Livingston County Director of Tourism, explained, “We see this competitive fund as an opportunity to not only welcome new experiences for our visitors, but also to enhance existing festivals and events in Livingston County. which have been affected in recent years. Although this is a tourism-oriented initiative, Livingston County Tourism believes that improving festivals and events in the area will also improve the quality of life for our residents.
Mayor of Lima John Skiptunas added, “With the onset of COVID and the increase in the number of people working from home, this funding is going to provide them with an exceptional source of internet access. The service flowing from Empire Access will be consistent at an improved speed and will be second to none. Residents will save a lot of money on their Internet bill because the flat rate, including connections, hardware and taxes, is only $50. We live in a community that has many seniors on fixed incomes and this will fit their budget and hopefully allow them to afford other luxuries.
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