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Kanawha Commission establishes application process for American Rescue Plan

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 11:10 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Each county in the mountain state has already received half of their American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, but many are still deciding where the money should go before spending a penny.

“What we’re starting to do is develop a budget, most importantly, we’ve developed an application process that’s going to be online soon,” Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango said. “So if you’re looking to try and have a project funded, you’ll be able to come online, complete the application and submit it.”

Each county is getting at least $1 million in total once the second half of the funds are given out, but the amount of money a county receives is all based on population. For example, Kanawha County is receiving over $34 million while Logan, Boone, Jackson, Wayne, Roane, Nicholas and several others, are getting under $10 million.

During their commission meeting Thursday night, Kanawha County commissioners established an application process for any municipality or organization wishing to have a share of the ARP funds.

“Every application will be public, every dollar we spend at this commission will be in a public meeting so people will be able to see not only the application but there’ll be a period of time when people come in and can respond to it as well before it’s approved,” Salango told WSAZ.

So far, Kanawha County has received $17 million but has not placed any percentage of the money into categories for use.

“There are several categories that you can spend money on, whether it’s infrastructure, broadband, water projects, things of that nature,” Salango said, “but we don’t have any requests yet for any particular project.”

Salango said they anticipate receiving some applications and potentially distributing some of the funding at their next commission meeting but want to be sure to spend it wisely.

“Obviously not all the money will be used within the next 30 days. It’s going to take some time,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re spending it wisely. We also want to make sure that we’re capitalizing on any state or additional federal dollars we get. I’d say there will be some projects that will be funded fairly quickly maybe in the next couple meetings but then after that, we’re going to study and see how to use the money best and we want public input.”

Commissioners encouraged the public to come out to their upcoming meetings, send emails or comments about how they think the money should be spent.

Right now, the applications are not available on the commission website but are expected to be posted within the next 30 days.

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