Commissioner Ray D’Agostino affirmed on Tuesday that Lancaster County plans to conduct a second application round for organizations seeking community American Rescue Plan Act grants.
It will likely kick off in late spring or summer, once the commissioners have worked through the remaining applications from the first round, he said.
D’Agostino’s remarks came as the commissioners finalized plans to transfer $15.75 million from ARPA to the county’s reserves under provisions for revenue replacement and salary reimbursement. The money can then be reallocated as the county chooses, rather than remaining limited to the uses outlined in the ARPA law.
The transfer will leave the county with about $46 million in its ARPA account. It can be allocated to county or community uses at the commissioners’ discretion, subject to the eligibility restrictions in the ARPA law and U.S. Treasury guidance.
The deadline to appropriate the money is the end of 2024, and it must all be spent by the end of 2026.
The commissioners have said all along that they planned a second round of ARPA community grants. Splitting up the process allows the county to spread the grants out over time and apply any lessons learned in the first round in setting up its successor.
The county received 99 applications seeking $78.5 million in the first round, for which the deadline was last August. To date, the commissioners have awarded 40 grants totaling $21.86 million.
It’s unclear how much money might be made available in the follow-up round. D’Agostino and Commissioner Josh Parsons have both said the county’s needs should come first. Commissioner John Trescot has been more eager to deploy ARPA in the community, contending that the county is bringing in more than enough money to cover its expenses and keep its reserves at healthy levels.