Levee will receive $4 million in ARPA funds | News, Sports, Jobs


Projects to rehabilitate the county’s levee systems will receive $4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, according to the draft budget announced this week by Lycoming County Commissioners.

“There is $4 billion of industry behind this dyke system,” Commissioner Scott Metzger said, stressing the importance of maintaining the system that protects areas of the city, South Williamsport and Loyalsock Township from flooding.

“There are 80% of our jobs based behind this dyke system. There are 80% of our tax revenues behind this system of dikes. So it’s vital that we get there.” said Metzger.

“The fact that we are committing $4 million today of our ARPA funds – the county committed $1 million before that. The county’s $5 million shows that we have skin in this game and we take it seriously. We want to see this work completed,” said Metzger.

Shannon Rossman, executive director of the county’s planning and community development department, also stressed the importance of maintaining the levee system.

“We have three dike systems. We have South Williamsport. We have Williamsport — they have two individual dykes, but they’re combined. And then we have the Bull Run seawall. Behind Bull Run alone, we have nearly $120 million in assessed value. It’s the golden band”, said Rossman.

“Because we have completed projects with the City of Williamsport and South Williamsport, which also includes parts of Loyalsock Township, as well as the Faxon and Old Lycoming area, we have nearly $950 million in assessed value, and these are a bit dated. , so it’s probably closer to a billion,” said Rossman.

She noted that there are 4,500 residences behind the county’s levee system.

Referencing the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida, Rossman said: “You’ve seen the pictures of Fort Myers, you know 4,500 homes that will be affected if our levees, our three levees don’t work.”

After months of seeking contributions from community groups and deliberation, the commissioners announced the most recent allocations of the $22 million the county had received from the federal government in ARPA funds. The commissioners had received $79 million in funding requests.

One of the main concerns expressed by the commissioners during the process was that the allowances would be generational, serving county residents for generations to come.

“The chances of us getting this kind of funding again are pretty low,” said Rossman.

Another concern in deciding where the funds would be distributed was the amount of regulations that are attached to federal funding.

“Sometimes we haven’t been able to use these funds because of the regulations themselves, but we think we’ve come up with a great initial plan for the money,” said Rossman.

Of the initial $22 million, Commissioners invested $10 million in payroll convenience. This makes it easier for Commissioners to allocate this funding to different projects listed as bullet points.

The initial budget of $22 million is as follows:

1. Payroll convenience: $10 million

• County projects: $4 million

• Seawall: $4 million

• Municipal public security: $1 million

• Agriculture: $1 million

2. Workforce development / Loss of private and public revenue: $1.3 million. These are the entities and businesses that need a resilient workforce and have also had difficulty raising funds or suffered a loss of revenue during the pandemic.

3. Economic Development/Const. : $1 million These are possible grants for eligible entities to assist in construction that would stimulate economic development and also affordable housing.

4. Public Works: (Water and Sewer/Storm Water): $5 million

5. Early Childhood/Education: $1.1 million for possible grants to help with daycare staffing, teacher training, and possibly help with the county library system. Things that are involved in early childhood education.

6. Recreation: $900,000 for projects like the Riverwalk and other regional projects.

7. Public Health Response: $1.7 million for items such as building design issues, HVAC, air circulation – items that have become apparent due to the pandemic.

8. Broadband: $1 million

Spin-off programs that were directed to other funding sources: Volunteer Fire Company Grants, $560,000, COVID Relief Block Grants; and the Housing Starts Initiative, $4 million, Bill 13 funds.

Rossman said some requests were made to other funding sources such as Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Community Development block grants to make the most of ARPA funds.

“Things will move and flow a bit based on need and specifically the ability to meet ARPA regulations,” Rossman said of the preliminary budget.

“All of these things are generational and are going to impact generations of our citizens in this county for years to come,” said Metzger.

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