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United Way of Lancaster County


Commissioners weigh three more community ARPA grants

Union Community Care’s Welsh Mountain clinic. (Source: OUL file)

The Lancaster County commissioners will consider awarding American Rescue Plan Act funds to three more community projects next week.

They would bring to 18 the number of projects approved in the county’s second round of community grants using the federal pandemic funding. To date, the commissioners have approved allocations totaling $4.85 million, out of a planned total of about $6 million.

The three initiatives proposed for funding next week would receive a total of $680,000, as follows:

  • Union Community Care ($250,000): HVAC and air filtration upgrades at the federally qualified health center’s New Holland Welsh Mountain clinic, 584 Springville Road, New Holland.
  • Columbia Catholic Housing for the Elderly ($200,000): HVAC upgrades at Trinity House Apartments in Columbia.
  • South Ann Concerned Neighbors ($230,000): Construction of an apartment for households at risk of homelessness as part of a community center.

Assuming all three are approved, that would leave about $470,000 for additional community grants.

At Tuesday’s work session, the three commissioners readily agreed on the Union Community Care project. It aligns with the county’s guidelines, Union Community Care President Alisa Jones assured them.

Besides the HVAC overhaul, Union Community Care is spending another $100,000 on interior renovations. The work will allow the clinic, in operation for 50 years, to serve its community for another half century, Jones said.

The other two projects relate to affordable housing for vulnerable populations. South Ann Concerned Neighbors has said it will partner with organizations such as Tenfold and Community Action Partnership to provide services to its tenants.

Trinity House Apartments (Source: HDC MidAtlantic)

Columbia Catholic Housing provides 123 units of affordable senior housing at Trinity House Apartments. More than half the units need new heating and cooling equipment, the nonprofit said; the ARPA funding would cover half the cost.

Columbia Catholic Housing submitted two ARPA applications; the other, which has not been acted on, was for $300,00 toward a $550,000 elevator replacement project.

County ARPA projects

Meanwhile, the commissioners are continuing to disburse ARPA to cover county expenses. On Wednesday, they will vote on allocations totaling $7.1 million.

Most of it, $6.64 million, will go toward salaries and health benefits paid out in 2023. The remaining $469,406 will go to three IT initiatives, most of it to a project to scan and digitize county records.

Salary and benefit costs can be covered by ARPA under provisions that allow governments to restore their staffing to pre-pandemic levels. For 2023, the county is only using about a third of what it could take under U.S. Treasury rules, which would allow it a little more than $20 million, Budget Services Director Patrick Mulligan said.

The county tentatively anticipates using another $3.3 million in ARPA for 2024 salary and benefits, Mulligan said. The appropriation must be made later this year; the deadline is Dec. 31.