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Council set to consider ARPA fund dispersal

Two weeks after members of the Laurens County Council met to hear proposals for American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) funding from entities across the county, the council is to meet again to decide how to disperse $5 million in ARPA funds.

Thirty-nine agencies, municipalities and non-profit organizations presented their proposals, seeking as little as $14,600 and as much as $2.3 million. The ARPA funds have been divided into pools of $2.5 million for nonprofit agencies and $2.5 million for infrastructure projects, said Laurens County Administrator Thomas Higgs.

Thirty-four of the grant proposals came from nonprofits or tax-exempt agencies, while the other five were for infrastructure projects proposed by three agencies.

“Laurens County is not only a great place to live and work, it’s also a great place to serve,” Higgs said. “Everyone was very thoughtful with their presentations for ARPA funding, and council has a hard task ahead of them dwindling that list down.”

Following last week’s presentations, County Council Chairman Brown Patterson said he is eager to get to the next  phase of the county’s ARPA plan.

“I am excited to see the recommendations of all the council members and look forward to the deliberation and allocation of funding next week,” Patterson said.

The county spent $750,000 of ARPA funds to purchase three ambulances last year. In addition to the $5 million council expects to distribute in the form of grants to local entities, it has an additional $7-7.5 million it expects to spend on county needs at its discretion.

The Laurens Commission of Public Works requested just over $2.3 million for a system rehab of its Little River Sewer System, the highest amount requested in either the infrastructure or nonprofit categories. The Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission asked for about $1.6 million to cover three infrastructure projects. Presbyterian College requested $601,000 for broadband internet upgrades.

Proposals from the 34 nonprofit and tax-exempt entities ranged for $14,600 for Straight Street Youth Center in Laurens to over $1.9 million for the Laurens YMCA and $1 million for the Clinton YMCA.

The City of Fountain Inn requested $1.5 million and the City of Laurens requested $700,000.

Others, such as the United Way of Laurens County turned in requests at or near six figures. The United Way requested $250,000.

“If it is approved, it is just going to be tremendous for Laurens County because the United Way supports other nonprofit organizations all over the county, so if we got the ARPA funds we would be able to give them more support,” said United Way Executive Director Alesia Carter.

Carter said she is hoping council will approve the entire $250,000 request to help other nonprofits as well as to help fund current United Way programs that need additional funding.

“Of course, we would like to get the whole amount that we requested, but any portion that we get is going to be very helpful,” she said.

Higgs said the nonprofits can get the ARPA funds directly to the communities they serve.

“I think just about any organization who we provide funding from (ARPA) can turn it around and provide an impact to the Laurens County communities,” he said.

Here is a list of all requests for ARPA funds received by County Council:

Infrastructure Projects

• Laurens Commission of Public Works – Little River Sewer System Rehab Project ($2,331,266.40)
• Laurens County Water Sewer Commission – Highway 418 Waterline Improvement ($552,379)

• Laurens County Water Sewer Commission – Highway 14 Metric Road Water Supply Improvement ($759,000)
• Laurens County Water & Sewer Commission – ISO Parkway/Fibertex Pump Station Upgrade ($346,250)

• Presbyterian College – Broadband ($601,654)

Community Grants 

• Straight Street Youth Center ($14,600)
• Laurens County Trails Association ($16,000)
• Good Shepherd Free Medical Clinic of Laurens ($16,000)

• Beyond Abuse ($40,000)
• Fountain Inn Kid Enrichment Center ($42,000)
• Family Promise of Laurens County ($45,000)
• Center for Community Services ($50,000)
• Laurens County Chamber of Commerce ($50,000)
• PAIA Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation SC ($50,000)

• Dental Share Network of Laurens County ($60,000)

• Laurens County Trail Association ($70,000)
• Rotary Club of Laurens County ($75,000)
• University of South Carolina Union-Laurens ($75,000)

• Bell Federation Center of the Blind ($90,000)
• Bridging the Gap Advocacy ($98,000)
• Camping Ministries of the Carolinas, Inc. ($100,000)

• Tranquility Point ($135,000)
• Main Street Laurens USA ($135,000)
• United Ministries of Laurens ($150,000)
• Presbyterian College ($161,500)
• Cultural Arts Foundation Fountain Inn ($200,000)

• Laurens County Safe Home ($200,000)
• Thornwell ($240,232)
• American Legion Post 25 ($250,000)
• Laurens Memorial Home for the Aged, Inc. ($250,000)

• The Laurens County Museum ($250,000)
• United Way of Laurens County ($250,000)

• Eighth Circuit Solicitor’s Office ($300,000)

• Laurens County School District 55 ($300,000)

• South Carolina Empowerment Centre ($350,000)

• The City of Laurens ($700,000)

• Young Mens Christian Association (YMCA) of Greater Clinton ($1,000,000)

• City of Fountain Inn ($1,517,000)
• Lakelands YMCA-Laurens ($1,971,000)

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