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Broadband, housing, more: Valley Co. looks at how to spend ARPA dollars

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Valley County officials came together to discuss the allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds during last week’s commissioner’s meeting.

The county received two rounds of funding. The first amounted to $2.2 million, and the second was $6.3 million, making for a total of $8.8 million. The initial $2.2 million must be committed by the end of 2024 and spent by 2026. There is no spending deadline for the second round of funds.

Clearwater Financial was picked to work on longer-term plans for county facilities and finances. Commissioners want to wait for the results before making ARPA funding decisions.

“We’ve talked about broadband, we’ve talked about a housing trust, we talked about getting the county shops out of town, and remodeling the fairgrounds, so to speak, and trying to build something that’s a lot more attractive or useful there,” Commission Chair Elt Hasbrouck said.

Many officials at the meeting agreed that the fairgrounds, upgrading county facilities, and using the money to fund match grants were high priorities. 

Commissioner Sherry Maupin addressed the housing crisis and how ARPA funds could be used to help solve this problem. She suggested helping fund a housing trust. 

“There needs to be somebody totally focused on this conversation about the county, in the west-central mountains,” she said. “And that’s the problem is we’re too fractured. We don’t have that, every other county that’s been successful on local housing initiatives has either a housing authority, or housing trust, or both. And we’re missing that right now.”

Commissioners said the county could put together a list of funding ideas and share it with the public ahead of any hearings. The county put out a public survey earlier this year that commissioners say they will still consider. 

Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Meridian and McCall. Contact her at [email protected].

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