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ARP allocations delayed due to Heritage losses

The postponement is due to operational losses at the county-owned nursing facility, the Heritage Living Campus, for which the county is fiscally responsible.

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USA dollars background. American rescue plan, USA relief program, stimulus check and Act of 2021 concept. Money, business, profit and livelihood idea. High quality photo
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Hubbard County is suspending distribution of more than $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) relief funds.

The postponement is due to operational losses at the county-owned nursing facility, the Heritage Living Campus, for which the county is fiscally responsible.

County commissioners discussed the matter at their Feb. 1 work session.

14 grant requestsHubbard County was allocated $4,174,375 in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), a part of ARP. The county board awarded $1 million to Heritage in 2021, leaving $3,174,375.

Last year, the Hubbard County Board formed an ad hoc committee to help determine priorities for fund use, solicit applications and review eligibility guidelines for proposed projects.

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The first half of funding was received in May 2021; the remaining amount is expected in May 2022.

County Administrator Jeff Cadwell reported Tuesday that the county received 14 grant applications, totaling more than $7.5 million.

Cadwell said the committee met Jan. 25, reviewed the applications and reached consensus on how to allocate funds.

The cities of Akeley and Park Rapids submitted infrastructure proposals, he noted. Akeley would use its $70,000 request to enhance public facilities at the trailhead in Paul Bunyan City Park. Another $350,000 would be used for emergency repairs to the water tower and proposed wastewater lift station improvements.

Park Rapids asked for $1,338,628 for the reconstruction and widening of Fair Avenue.

The Heartland Lakes Development Commission (HLDC) sought $1,600,000 for the development of an affordable housing subdivision within Park Rapids for 50 households. HLDC also requested $996,800 for a Hubbard County owner-occupied rehabilitation program.

The Hubbard County Solid Waste Department seeks $563,000 for partial closure of the south transfer station’s demo landfill. The project’s purpose is to minimize impacts to groundwater.

The county highway department requested $539,220 to reconstruct 10 miles of CSAH 16, from U.S. Hwy. 71 to the Cass County line.

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The sheriff’s office wants $330,000 to replace aging two-way emergency radios, 35 mobile and 35 portable.

The city of Nevis asked for $108,636 to replace 250 water meters and readers.

Other applicants were MAHUBE-OTWA ($489,998 for mental health services), Family Safety Network ($60,000 for domestic violence intervention), Lakes Area Dive Team ($85,000 for a remote operated vehicle) and Trinity Lutheran Church of Laporte ($47,642 for an air exchange/handling system).

Cadwell noted that federal guidance allows up to $10 million to be used for revenue recapture due to the pandemic, so grants would be considered general government expenditures from Hubbard County funds.

Possible revolving loan fundThe committee identified certain requests to receive SLFRF and “other” funding.

Cadwell explained Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline will add to the 2022 new construction tax capacity, which the county can capture and use to create a revolving loan fund that would be useful for some of the projects.

“We were all relatively happy we split some money. We spread it around the county,” Cadwell said.

But then the significant operational deficit at Heritage Living Campus came to the forefront.

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Heritage requested another $1 million from SLFRF.

“That is either our problem related to these funds or our problem related to levy dollars and fund balance,” Cadwell said. “So the direction was really needing to put on hold the allocation of that $3 million until we understood the total impact of the revenue loss at Heritage Living Center.”

Cadwell said all of the applicants have been made aware of the delay.

Related Topics: HUBBARD COUNTY
Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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