TOWNSHIP — Economic development, broadband expansion and reforestation are some of the projects St. Lawrence County will spend its American Rescue Plan Act funds on.
The Council of Legislators passed a resolution at Monday’s finance committee meeting accepting funding recommendations put forward by the county’s ARPA committee, which has been studying how best to use its share of $20.9 million.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden in March 2021 to facilitate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full county budget proposed by the committee is $5 million for emergency communications equipment; $4 million for economic development and tourism; $3 million for broadband development and installation; $3 million for utilities, including water and sewer development and repair; $5 million for county capital projects; and $900,000 for the removal and reforestation of ash trees.
The resolution says the emergency communications equipment money will go towards a new radio system for the county as well as new equipment for local municipalities.
Money for economic development and tourism will be distributed among many organizations. $3 million will be distributed through the Saint-Laurent County Industrial Development Agency to various businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining portion of Economic Development will split $300,000 for Clifton-Fine Hospital; $287,000 for commercial driver training programs; $200,000 for child care training programs; $100,000 for emergency medical technician training programs; $50,000 for the extension of the Cornell cooperative; and $50,000 for the Governor’s and St. Lawrence County Fair.
The $3 million for broadband development will help continue efforts to improve internet access throughout the county.
The $5 million for capital projects will be used to renovate the Canton Public Safety Complex, repurpose the former Judson Street Jail in Canton and relocate county departments to improve the efficiency of public services.
The $900,000 will fund the removal of ash trees along county roads and rights-of-way affected by the invasive emerald ash borer. The funds will also support the reforestation of these areas.
The ARPA committee also recommended funds to support employee welfare, body armor for the probation service and a lifeboat for emergency services.
The committee consisted of lawmakers Kevin D. Acres, R-Madrid, James E. Reagen, R-Ogdensburg, Daniel G. Fay, D-Canton and Anthony J. Arquiett, D-Helena. They also considered feedback from a November community survey.