The Highland County Board of Commissioners discussed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and aspects of funding at its weekly Wednesday meeting.
Jeff Duncan, commission president, said the commissioners have been to multiple meetings, including one in Columbus, where the specifics of ARPA funding, how it could be used and distributed, and the record-keeping that would be involved in using it, were discussed.
Duncan said because of that, the commissioners decided an administrator was needed for the ARPA project. He said Nicole Oberrecht in the commissioner’s office was asked if she would be willing to take the position, which he said she agreed to.
Duncan said she would be heading the ARPA funding project for a total of about four years because it is a four-year project. He said she will help coordinate with the townships that have applied for money and also possibly help with some “joint efforts” in some of those areas.
“Want to thank her for stepping up and taking that role,” Duncan said. “We think that’s a good fit for us and her.”
Commissioner David Daniels said the ARPA funding that is coming to the county totals about $12,904,000.
“When we look to the townships and some of the projects that they may or may not be able to do might fit with some of the things that we’re trying to do,” Daniels said. “That’s part of it.”
The commissioners also discussed the possible broadband expansion coming to the county. Daniels said Resolution No. 21-202 was required as the commissioners started looking for House Bill 2 funds. He said this was the broadband expansion program the state legislature passed earlier this year and gave around $250 million for broadband expansion throughout the state.
Duncan said there were some broadband providers that applied for grant money to expand broadband in the county. He said the commissioners gave letters of support to two companies, Spectrum Mid-America, LLC as managed by Charter Communications, Inc. and Southern Ohio Communications, Inc. He said there was a resolution to support “by monetary contribution and public resolution” Spectrum Mid-America, LLC as managed by Charter Communications, Inc.
The resolution to Charter was a “pledge” from the county to contribute $500,000 for Charter’s Residential Broadband Infrastructure Project in Highland County.
Daniels said the deadline for the initial funding round is on Monday, and that both companies announced their intention to apply in that first round. He said the letters of support and resolution were a part of their grant application. He also said the broadband grant money could be used from multiple sources right now, but that ARPA funding was a possibility, or general fund money.
In other news, there were 10 resolutions approved by the board of commissioners, which are as follows:
* Res No. 21-194 is authorization for an additional appropriation from unappropriated within S-12, Recorder-Equipment, to Contracts and Services in the amount of $4,000.
* Res No. 21-195 is an authorization for an additional appropriation from unappropriated funds within the Clerk of Courts budget to Telephone Services in the amount of $150.
* Res No. 21-196 is a declaration that the following items are no longer needed for public use, vehicles from the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, pursuant to ORC 307.12(1) determined that the above-listed property may be discarded or salvaged.
* Res No. 21-197 is an authorization for a budget modification within the board of elections budget from Supplies to County – Transfer Out in the amount of $3,905.19. Also requested is a transfer from Transfers Out to S-31 and an appropriation to HAVA Cyber Security in the amount of $3,905.19.
* Res No. 21-198 is an authorization for an additional appropriation from unappropriated funds within the auditor’s budget in the amount of $5,693.52.
* Res No. 21-199 is an authorization for a request for a budget modification within the commissioner’s budget in the amount of $5,000.
* Res No. 21-200 is an agreement to rescind Resolution 21-188 regarding reimbursement of funds within Jobs and Family Services. Commissioners also authorized a request for a transfer of funds from PA Funding to CSEA to Child Support Enforcement, C-00 in the amount of $32,303.01.
* Res No. 21-201 is an agreement to rescind Resolution 21-189 regarding reimbursement of funds within Jobs and Family Services. Commissioners also authorized a request for a transfer of funds from PA Funding to PCSA to S-03, Children Services, in the amount of $85,096.37.
* Res No. 21-202 is an adoption of a resolution to request the Ohio Department of Development to solicit applications from broadband providers for Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program grants for eligible projects in the municipal corporations and townships in the county.
* Res No. 21-203 is an authorization for the establishment of new line items and appropriations within the S-23 Coronavirus Local Recovery fund in the amount of $13,150.
* Res No. 21-204 is a resolution to support, “by monetary contribution and public resolution,” a residential infrastructure project by Spectrum Mid-America, LLC as managed by Charter Communications, Inc.
There were also two contracts approved by the board of commissioners, which are as follows:
* Contract 78 is a contract between the commissioners, Greystone Systems and the clerk of courts for web server upgrades for the CourtView software installation.
* Contract 79 is a contract between the commissioners, Greystone Systems and the clerk of courts for data server upgrades.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.