Johnson County Board of Supervisors considers funding 37 projects with American Rescue Plan

The nearly 40 remaining proposed American Rescue Plan projects are in four specific funding categories dealing with short and long-term funding opportunities.


Larry Phan

A Board of Supervisors meeting for Johnson County is shown in Iowa City on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

Cooper Worth, News Reporter

The 37 remaining American Rescue Plan projects — pending final approval from the Johnson County Board of Supervisors — are classified under four specific funding categories. The board will vote to consider the funding’s “final matrix” plan on Thursday.

Since May, the supervisors — along with county staff and department heads — have been working to reduce the over 60 initial proposed projects so the county does not go over its $29.3 million budget allocated by the federal government for COVID-19 relief.

Supervisor Jon Green said getting these proposals to a vote was a culmination of a lot of work between all the supervisors.

“I know that none of us are completely satisfied, but at the same time, this is money that we were not promised and we’re going to be able to do some good things with it,” Green said.

Projects that will be funded are organized under four categories.

Near-Term Funding Opportunities

Projects listed under this focus funding decisions on near-term opportunities as well as expanding existing COVID-19 response programs.

Projects classified under this are designed to be short-term and can be enacted within six months. Some of the projects include providing capital needs of local arts organizations with a budget of $200,000, and expanding the eviction diversion program with a budget of $337,500.

Another project under this category is $2 million for payments to excluded workers who did not receive money from previous federal relief plans.

Transformative Initiatives

These projects are proposed by internal and external stakeholders in Johnson County and are intended to be long-term projects.

Projects deemed transformative are designed to build resiliency, equity, economic recovery, and impact generations to come. These projects include a GPS Monitoring Program for domestic violence, sexual assault, and forcible felony offenders — which was previously removed but has since been added back for board consideration — with a budget of $1.18 million. Another project will create an affordable child care program on county-owned property with a budget of $3 million.

County Operations

With a one-year calculated revenue loss of $2.6 million, projects listed under county operations will be an attempt to replace the revenue loss for county procedures, program administration, and contingencies.

These projects include hiring an additional disease prevention specialist with a budget of $319,000 and hiring a data analyst/administrative assistant for the Medical Examiner’s Office with a budget of $256,000.

Technical Assistance and Support

These projects are designed to support staff and were considered to assist in the management of Local Fiscal Recovery Funds allocations.

The only project listed under this category is providing translation services to Johnson County departments and offices, as well making sure ARPA and other county materials are accessible in multiple languages, with a budget of $50,000.

Green said even though he is disappointed it has taken a while for the supervisors to vote on these projects, he values the efforts made by the county’s American Rescue Plan leadership team.

“We’ve had multiple, lengthy meetings going over the same things trying to cut the projects down to the $29.3 million, and that’s been painful for all of us,” he said. “But at the same time, we know we’re going to do some good things with this money.”

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