Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Olmsted County selected several additional projects that will be funded by the American Rescue Pan Act Tuesday.

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The county allotted $4.8 million to projects focused on mitigating COVID-19 impacts on vulnerable populations, public works, and county operations. The money will fund:

  • An initiative focused on groundwater protection and soil health totaling $3 million.
  • A $500,000 investment toward the Child Care Benefit Cliff project to support clients working to get off of public benefits and out of poverty. Some clients are disincentivized from earning more money because of the risk of losing childcare subsidies.
  • Fixing failing sewer systems serving trailer parks. Olmsted County will provide up to $420,000 toward improving infrastructure for Zumbro Ridge.
  • Expanded mental health support and truancy prevention in elementary schools in the amount of $300,000. An additional $265,000 investment will continue mental health support and truancy prevention in secondary schools.
  • A two-year investment of $232,500 for mental health stabilization through county employees.
  • Expanded therapy services provided by Family Service Rochester for adolescents totaling $125,000.

In total, Olmsted County was awarded almost $31 million. Decisions about how to use the county’s first installment of $19.9 million in ARPA funds were made in August 2021.

“We want to be thoughtful about how we’re spending ARPA funds. Further, we want them to be generational investments that will have an impact for years to come,” said Commissioner Mark Thein. “These funds will allow us to provide additional resources to expand services and protect resources meeting long-term needs for housing, mental well-being, and safe environments.”

"The ARPA money is vital to our efforts to maintain strong mental health capabilities and improve the county's built and natural resources," County Administrator Heidi Welsch commented. "These are investments that will improve the quality of life for residents in Olmsted County."

The funds are eligible to cover costs from March 3, 2021 through December 31, 2024 in four categories: Support or mitigate public health response or its negative economic impact; provide government services to replace revenue loss; investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure; and premium pay for essential workers.

The county left $5.8 million of ARPA funding available for future projects. The total funds must be allocated by December 31, 2024 and all projects must be completed by December 31, 2026.

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