Yolo County supervisors receive update on American Rescue Plan funds – Daily Democrat

The Yolo County Board of Supervisors received an update earlier this week about American Rescue Plan funds that had been allocated toward water and wastewater infrastructure.

On Sept. 28, 2021, the Board of Supervisors approved the initial American Rescue Plan (ARP) Expenditure Plan, which included $1 million for water/wastewater infrastructure under the strategic plan implementation. To date, these funds have not yet been committed to a specific project or program within the water/wastewater infrastructure spending bucket.

“At the same time, parallel to the board trying to determine the best use and investment of ARP funds, we were also in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and our second consecutive year of drought,” Elisa Sabatini, Yolo County’s natural resources manager, told supervisors on Tuesday.

In August 2021, the state announced a water infrastructure funding package that consisted of $4.5 billion in emergency drought funding spread across a dozen funding programs administered by the California Natural Resources Agency.

“At the Aug. 31, 2021, board meeting, the board allocated $125,000 from general funds for contract grant writing assistance to help staff identify critical needs and eligible projects and also develop funding proposals to apply for these emergency drought funds,” Sabatini said.

Over the past 18 months, staff identified over a dozen water/wastewater projects within the rural communities and worked to develop these proposed projects into viable funding applications. As of Jan. 4, 2023, six projects totaling $4.68 million have been funded including the Madison Drinking Water System and Dunnigan and Capay Valley Fire Protection Districts, Sabatini reported. Two other projects were determined to be ineligible while two applications are still pending.

Once the two pending applications have been resolved, which is estimated to be around April, Sabatini said natural resources staff, who have been working with sister agencies and stakeholders, will have a better idea of what the existing identified need is in order to commit the $1 million of ARP funds.

“We have a pretty exciting list of ideas for your consideration of the investment of that million dollars,” Sabatini emphasized.

In addition to the update on the water and wastewater category, staff also provided the quarterly report for the ARP funds. According to Chad Rinde, the county’s chief financial officer, Yolo County has assigned the entire amount of $42.8 million of ARP funds to different spending buckets — priority categories, projects and other funding uses. However, the county still has not committed all the funds to specific projects or programs within these spending buckets and $4.9 million still remains.

“The first category, the children, youth and family, that’s where we have a significant amount of uncommitted dollars,” Rinde noted. “The reason for that is we were waiting for an effort with YCOE. We put $2.2 million aside for their plan that they’re doing related to children, youth and families to really identify where some of those needs that are unaddressed in the community.”

The $4.9 million remains in the following categories: $2.5 million in children, youth and families; $500,000 in the broadband bucket; $573,868 in the climate action bucket, $370,250 in economic development and $1 million in water/wastewater infrastructure.

A follow-up water and wastewater infrastructure update will come before the board in June.

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