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United Way of Lancaster County


County ARPA: $1 million approved for TLC shelter; no consensus yet on further community grants (update)

The Transitional Living Center. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

Update, March 1: On Wednesday, the commissioners approved $1 million in ARPA funds for Tenfold’s TLC shelter renovation.

Previously reported:

The Lancaster County commissioners spent a portion of their Tuesday work session discussing how to allocate their remaining American Rescue Plan Act funding for community projects, but the conversation concluded without a firm agreement on next steps.

It’s a hard choice, Commissioner Alice Yoder said: The projects under consideration are all worthwhile and there isn’t enough money to go around.

Commissioner Josh Parsons, the board’s chairman, said the topic will remain on the agenda next week for further debate.

The commissioners are midway through making their second round of community ARPA grants, for which they have allocated $6 million. Last week, they approved a slate of projects totaling $3.85 million; and on Wednesday, they are scheduled to vote on providing $1 million to Tenfold for renovations at its TLC shelter, bringing disbursements to $4.85 million.

That leaves $1.15 million to go. The eligible projects fall into six categories: On Tuesday, Yoder said she’d like to prioritize affordable housing, while Commissioner Ray D’Agostino said he’d like to see funding for conservation and preservation.

Representatives of three organizations were on hand to make pitches in person: Community Basics, which is seeking $650,000 for its Manor Youth House transitional housing project; the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center, which seeking $875,000 for a renovation to allow additional classes; and South Ann Concerned Neighbors, which is seeking $250,000 to underwrite the affordable apartment it is including in its Community Hub project in Lancaster’s Southeast.

The commissioners listened and asked questions but did not give any indication of being for or against funding any of the three projects.

The remaining ARPA

Before Round 2 began, the county had $20.37 million remaining from the $106 million in ARPA it received from the federal government.

Besides the $6 million in community grants, it has budgeted $10.75 million for its own use. The majority, $10 million, is to go toward salary support and revenue replacement.

That leaves a little over $3.6 million as unallocated reserves. On Tuesday, Commissioner Alice Yoder asked her colleagues if some or all of that could go toward community projects to bolster the $6 million.

That depends on whether county staff have proposals for using some or all of the money, Commissioner Ray D’Agostino said. The commissioners should be getting an update on that in the next few weeks, he said. For now, the reserve should remain off limits, he and Commissioner Josh Parsons said.

The hard deadline for allocating ARPA is the end of 2024. To be on the safe side, it would make sense for the county to act earlier than that, probably no later than the summer, Parsons and D’Agostino said.

The $1 million for Tenfold’s TLC shelter would cover the cost of a new heating and air conditioning system, part of a multi-million-dollar overhaul that includes replacement of all of the aging former hotel’s systems. The project was discussed in detail last week; there was no further discussion Tuesday, apart from the commissioners reiterating their support.