The 23 infrastructure projects submitted to Lancaster County for American Rescue Plan Act funding broke down neatly into two categories, Deputy Chief Clerk Amy Campbell told the county commissioners Tuesday morning.
Thirteen of them involved water and sewer work and all of them qualify for funding under county and federal ARPA guidelines. The other 10 were for other kinds of projects: All 10 are ineligible, Campbell said.
The commissioners are midway through a category-by-category review of the 75 applications submitted for Round 2 of the county’s ARPA awards.
They have set a tentative total allocation of $6 million, although that is subject to change. The board will likely know next week how much is available, Commissioner Ray D’Agostino said at Tuesday’s work session.
The commissioners reviewed workforce ARPA applications last week and technology applications the week before. Three workforce projects seeking a total of $2.26 million were deemed eligible, along with two technology applications seeking $530,000. The eligible water and sewer infrastructure projects are seeking a total of $4.5 million.
Initially, all ARPA applications are reviewed for eligibility by a county work group. In addition, the Lancaster County Planning Department reviewed and rated infrastructure projects, as it did for Round 1. As before, it divided the eligible projects into three tiers, denoting high, medium and low priority projects.
Of the projects deemed ineligible, all but two were disqualified under federal ARPA guidelines, which the commissioners cannot overrule. The remaining two applications, by Garden Spot Fire Rescue for an air compressor system and by East Petersburg Fire Co. for equipment replacement, met federal and county ARPA guidelines but did not address one of the county’s six identified priorities for funding, Campbell said.
The commissioners have full discretion to award all, some or none of the requested funding to eligible projects. In theory, they could choose to fund a project that meets federal but not county guidelines, if they felt it deserved it, but they have indicated they are highly unlikely to do so.
The commissioners asked Campbell to note any applicants that previously received funding. A review of allocations to date shows that Weaverland Valley Authority received $466,682 in last year’s ARPA round. Additionally, although the Elizabethtown Area Sewer Authority has not received funding, it is served by the wastewater treatment plant for which the borough received $244,000 last year toward capital improvements.
The commissioners will review ARPA applications for conservation and disease mitigation projects at their morning work session next Tuesday, Dec. 19. They will then reconvene that afternoon at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the last category, affordable housing.