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County issues first pass at how ARP money could be spent

Henderson County residents could see a fully renovated VFW building, new playground at Jackson Park, a high-quality youth soccer park, a wastewater treatment plant and sewer lines in Edneyville or a new EMS station at no charge for county taxpayers.

Those are a few of the 37 projects ranging in cost from $5,000 to $22 million that Henderson County commissioners could choose when they decide how to spend the county’s $22 million in federal American Rescue Plan money.
County Manager John Mitchell emphasized to the board that the list was not made up of ideas by staff but by suggestions or requests the commissioners had made over the past year or so.
“They’re not coming as recommendations,” he said. “This is just a first take.”
The list contained 18 appropriations that the county administrators had deemed to be eligible for ARP funding and 19 in a category that they called a standard deduction. Late in the process before it issued the final rule on how ARP money could be spent, U.S. Treasury officials created a more flexible “revenue replacement” category under which the county could pay for things it already planned to do anyway.
ARP-eligible projects on the list were:
• Passenger van for Covid transports, $35,000
• Personal protective equipment for emergency services, no cost estimate
• Self-insurance reimbursement, $750,000
• Shed for emergency services vehicles, $75,000
• Parking lot for emergency services vehicles, $40,000
• Fletcher EMS personnel, $1 million
• Two portable ventilators, $42,366
• Playground equipment, East Flat Rock, $200,000
• Playground equipment, Jackson Park, $150,000
• Edneyville sewage treatment plant, $3.9 million
• Edneyville sewer lines, $18.1 million.
• Stormwater drainage, Human Services building, $325,000
• ARP consultant, $250,000
• ARP grants manager, $300,000
So-called standard deduction projects were:
• VFW renovation, $4.2 million
• Fletcher EMS station, $3.1 million
• Youth soccer fields, $2.7 million
• Sheriff’s office radios, $600,000
• Fletcher radio tower, $300,000
• Mills River town upgrade, $150,000
• Bearwallow tower replacement, $150,000
• Five power load systems for ambulances, $117,000
• Radio consoles for buses, $115,000
• Emergency operations center video conferencing center, $100,000
• EMS headquarters forklift, $75,000
• Radio system upgrade, $75,000
• Trailers for emergency deployment equipment, $50,000
• Emergency plan update, $25,000
• CPR devices, $16,200
• Specialized refrigerator, EMS, $9,500
• SAT phone for dispatch, $5,000
While nonprofit organizations have been closely watching the process in hopes they could receive ARP funding, the county still has not drafted an application for the agencies to use.
County Commission Chair Bill Lapsley pointed out that the board has given the public opportunities to comment on ARP funding or request funding. At a meeting last month no one rose to speak. Monday night, one person did.
Assistant County Manager Amy Brantley said when the county’s $22.8 million ARP allocation was first announced, nonprofits flooded the county with questions about applying for a grant.
“That’s kind of slacked off as we’ve gone on and learned how difficult it’s going to be” to comply with the rules, she said.