American Rescue Plan Act
Williamson County, Tennessee has been allocated $46,308,736 in ARPA fund. These may be used in numerous ways as outlined in the rules of the U. S. Treasury at SLFRF@treasury.gov.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package or American Rescue Plan, Pub L. No. 117-2 (March 11, 2021), is a US$1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 117th United States Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, to speed up the country's recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession.
Williamson County has received full payment of the funds, $46,308,736. Each city in the county has also received ARPA funding which they may use on their projects following the rules under ARPA.
Williamson County ARPA Projects
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNDECD) announced the awarding of grants for rural broadband infrastructure for Williamson County in partnership with United Communications. These grants are a portion of the funds received by the state of Tennessee from the American Recovery Plan Act of 2021.
Broadband is essential in today’s society for education, business, medical and overall connectivity within our society. Williamson County welcomes the investment in our county by TNDECD to help provide broadband service to more of our county residents.
The award consists of $14 million from TNDECD’s ARPA funds, $3.3 million from United Communications and up to $3 million from Williamson County’s ARPA grant.
According to United Communications, work should begin very soon with completion of this grant award to be completed in 2023-2024. This is a much quicker completion than originally estimated. The grant estimates that over 3,206 new broadband sites could be added to the network at the conclusion of this broadband infrastructure grant project.
Williamson County residents are encouraged to go to the United Communications website https://united.net/tnecd-grants to see if they are in an area included in the grant area.
The map included is not a true indication of where United will be installing the fiber optic cables under the grant but it will give an indication of those areas unserved or underserved with broadband service. Click map above for a larger version
Projects and Programs approved for ARPA funding in Williamson County
Covid Testing Services
ARPA funds may be used for the benefit of keeping government operations open for the public. In order to quickly identify county employees infected with Covid-19, Williamson County contracted with Resolve Diagnostics of Franklin to test county employees for Covid-19 and process the test showing the results within 24 hours. The use of this service allows us to bring those testing negative for Covid-19 back to work sooner. It also allows the county to keep staff out of the office when testing positive for Covid-19. The end result is county employees may spend more time serving the citizens of Williamson County. The expenditure is for up to $250,000 through February 4, 2024.
Funding for three new ambulances for the county using $1,425,000 of ARPA funds was approved by the county commission. The public health emergency created by the Covid-19 pandemic caused the ambulance fleet to be overused and showed a need for additional units. The purchase of these units will enable the service to expand and to create a pool of reserve units to be used when needed for emergencies or repairs to current operating fleet. The additional units will enable the service to provide a quicker response time. These additional new units will enable ambulances to be dispatched to assist in caring for those injured in a future disaster or extra capacity for a future pandemic.
Behavioral Health Care and Counseling Center
The State of Tennessee recognized the need for more and better behavioral health care and counseling for those suffering from substance abuse. The pandemic created a greater need for these health care services. The state has allocated funds in the 2022-23 budget and plans to allocated additional funds in the 2023-24 budget for this project with Williamson County providing up to a 25% match. The county commission has approved up to $400,000 of ARPA funds to be used on this project.
Funding Covid-19 Related Medical Costs in the County Insurance Fund
During the pandemic, many county employees, dependents and retirees were infected with Covid-19 and required some type of medical attention. These costs were covered under the Williamson County Insurance Fund, a self-insured fund to cover health insurance costs. The administrator of the fund was able to segregate the Covid-19 related health care coverage costs from the non-Covid-19 costs. The period covered is March 3, 2021 through March 31, 2022. Covid-19 related costs have exceeded seven million dollars ($7,000,000) for the period. Another request to use ARPA funds for these continuing costs may occur when the data is analyzed at the end of the fiscal year.