The money is finally on the way.
In the final step of the Johnson County Direct Assistance Program, the county’s Board of Supervisors cleared the way for $1,400 checks to be sent to nearly 2,000 Johnson Countians at its formal session July 21.
Johnson County allocated $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to financially help those adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years. The approval of the checks was one last part of the formal process in a procedure that began months ago.
“You’ve done it,” Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglass told members of the county’s ARPA Leadership Team. “It’s been marvelous to see.”
While 1,919 residents will receive one-time payments of $1,400, the program drew fire from some members of the public at multiple board meetings since last fall who were wanting more money and to receive it quicker. Iowa City and Coralville chipped in to provide additional funds, but 319 eligible applicants did not receive money because their names did not come up lucky in a lottery system utilized to select recipients.
Applications were received from all over the county, including a small number from Lone Tree and Hills.
All of Johnson County’s allocation and all of Coralville’s $27,000 in funds were used up, but only about half of Iowa City’s $1.35 million, per a subrecipient agreement between the county and the Iowa City.
The county approached Iowa City on June 27 to revise the agreement, Johnson County Grants Assistant Allison Wells told the board, but Iowa City declined.
The ARPA Leadership Team said it is now going into a “pause” for a short term while 14 projects get underway and another 12 prepare to launch in Fiscal Year 2023. The county has received $28 million in ARPA funds.
Ray Forsythe, Special Projects Manager, is hoping that a central database can be created to track these and other county projects.
“We don’t have anything that works,” Forsythe said. “We need a central location where project managers can find information, but then also the public or the elected officials can find information on projects.”
In other action, the board approved pay ranges for non-bargaining employees for the new fiscal year that began July 1. Annual salary ranges go from $38,986 for a beginning clerk or custodian in Pay Grade 1 to $175,000 at the maximum level for Pay Grade 21.
County employees received a 2.25% cost-of-living increase, effective July 1.
The board set a public hearing for August 11 for its monthly evening meeting, during which a number of rezoning and platting applications will be considered.
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