ARPA pours federal dollars into Marion County
Several communities in the north Marion County region were among the recipients of American Rescue Plan Act funding allotted for specific projects and approved by the Marion County Commissioners on June 8.
Marion County Finance Department Grants Manager Debbie Gregg, Contracts and Procurement Manager Camber Schlag and Community Development Manager Chris Eppley recently met with county commissioners to discuss the funded projects, which were retroactive from March 3, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2026.
Among the ARPA grants and projects were:
• City of Donald for the New City Drinking Wells Project in the amount of $1 million;
• City of Gervais for the Wastewater Pump Station/Forced Main and Aeration Upgrade Project in the amount of $1 million;
• City of Hubbard for the Water System Improvements Project in the amount of $1 million;
• City of Mt. Angel for the Marquam Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line Project in the amount of $450,000;
• City of St. Paul for the Water System Improvement Plan Project in the amount of $1 million.
Other towns receiving funding for projects were Aumsville, Gates, Jefferson, Mill City, Stayton, Sublimity and Turner.
"These are specifically for the water, sewer, broadband infrastructure projects," Gregg said. "They are allowable under the ARPA award that we have received.
"Just to recap, in case anyone has missed it, Marion County was directly allocated over $67 million in ARPA funds," she clarified, noting the funding is for coronavirus-related state-and-local fiscal recovery.
The county fielded applications for various projects eligible to receive the federal money and determined specific allocations earlier this year.
"Now we are executing all those agreements," Gregg said.
Eppley said St. Paul's water improvement project is the first phase of a much larger project that will include a 500,000 gallon tank above a ground storage tank, tying it into the municipality's current system to improve storage and water pressure throughout town.
"While every project is unique and important, today's allocation, I feel, is the most critical to our (county communities)," Marion County Commissioner Danielle Bethell said. "One of the things that Marion County is supposed to do is to create opportunities for safe, healthy living environments for all of our citizens.
"We have the most incorporated cities of any county in the state, which means our need is greater because they always have great needs," she added. "I'm just super proud of the fact that we have allocated such a significant portion of these federal dollars to our cities — 10 specifically today, which is half."
Bethell applauded the collaborative work between county staff and municipalities in identifying projects and leveraging funding to its fullest efficacy.
Commissioner Kevin Cameron lauded the county's approach, which he said helped streamline allocations to get funding quickly to projects needing it.
"We said right at the beginning, we wanted these investments to be generational for our kids and our grandkids," Cameron said. "And you can see by all this infrastructural money that's going out there, that is what is happening."
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