Clallam County has pledged to spend $15M in relief funds

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has either agreed to spend or will agree to spend the entire $15 million it received as part of the COVID-19 relief funding, Chief Financial Officer Mark Lane told the Clallam County Commissioners on Monday.

“We erred on needs outside the county. We were a frontrunner for how much we designated to organizations outside the county,” Lane said.

The county’s funding obligations include $350,000 for the Clallam County PUD residential and commercial utility assistance program; $2.48 million for the Clallam Economic Development Council’s small business lifeboat program; $300,000 for the Clallam Economic Development Council’s nonprofit lifeboat program; and $469,000 for the Clallam Economic Development Council’s childcare lifeboat program.

The obligations also include $210,000 for the Peninsula Housing Authority; $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity; $250,000 for the Clallam Bay-Sekiu New Hope Food Bank; $1.25 million for Blackball Transportation, operators of the Coho ferry between Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C.; $105,000 for the Forks Community Food Bank; $186,000 to the Sequim Food Bank; $1.35 million to the Port Angeles Food Bank; and $135,000 to improve the virtual meeting capabilities in the county commissioners’ meeting room.

The county has $3.6 million in commitments that haven’t been formalized yet. They include $250,000 for air purification equipment at the Clallam County Courthouse to prevent the spread of COVID-19; $500,000 for the Olympic Peninsula YMCA to help build an early learning childcare facility in Port Angeles; and $300,000 for Peninsula Housing Authority to continue operating its Mutual Self-Help Building Program.

The commitments also include $700,000 to support affordable housing projects; $87,000 for local water systems; and $1.8 million for the 10 percent local match for the Washington State Broadband Office grant recently awarded to Clallam County. The Clallam County Broadband Project will serve about 1,600 homes, beginning at the junction of U.S. Highway 101 and state Highway 112 and going through Joyce.

Only about $3 million is being used by the county as “revenue replacement,” Lane said, which could be used for the Carlsborg Urban Growth Area water infrastructure support ($775,000), medical respite support for Serenity House ($350,000), coverage of a grant funding gap for the Dungeness Off-Channel Reservoir project ($522,000), additional support to the Port Angeles Food Bank of $1.3 million and an undetermined amount for the Sequim Food Bank.

In May 2021, the county was awarded $15,020,640 of federal stimulus funding from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

Lane said the overview of spending for the second quarter of 2022 was required by the U.S. Treasury Department as part of the federal legislation. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), better known as “COVID-19 funding,” was signed into law on March 21, 2021.

The county has received $15 million in COVID-19 funding thus far. It received the first half of these funds on May 28, 2021, with the second half received last month.

Complete information is available on Clallam County’s ARPA webpage at www.clallam.net/bocc/arpa.html.

Lane said they are updating the information table on the county’s ARPA webpage, which includes links to understand how the ARPA money is being spent.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached by email at [email protected]

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