Johnson County Supervisors to vote on ARPA projects

By Paul D. Bowker
Posted 11/16/21

Thursday is decision day.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote Thursday, Nov. 18 on the first round of proposed projects and funding tied to $29.3 million in American …

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Johnson County Supervisors to vote on ARPA projects

Posted

Thursday is decision day.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote Thursday, Nov. 18 on the first round of proposed projects and funding tied to $29.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money.

The vote follows months of discussion and negotiations involving the board, the ARPA Leadership Team led by Special Projects Manager Ray Forsythe, and a number of public-input sessions. One of those sessions was held in Lone Tree.

The first round of approvals will designate funds that are available for immediate use, and fall within the Fiscal Year 2022 budget ending June 30, 2022.

Another round of ARPA funds will be used in Fiscal Year 2023 and beyond. Federal regulations require all ARPA funds to be obligated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026. ARPA, which was meant to help communities and residents recover from the pandemic nationwide, was signed into law in March 2021 by President Biden.

In addition to the $29.3 million awarded to Johnson County, Lone Tree and Hills were among the cities receiving smaller allocations.

The board held a work session on Monday in order to cut down the projected spending so that it falls within the allocated budget, and also held a six-hour ARPA session last week. Among the groups wanting an increased amount of funding is one made up of mostly Spanish-speaking immigrants who did not qualify for the federal stimulus program. Financial assistants, or payouts, of $2 million to excluded workers are in the tentative ARPA budget, but workers and Iowa City Catholic Worker House officials say they deserve millions more.

At public-input sessions held in Lone Tree and elsewhere, common themes were affordable housing, childcare and job training programs.

“Who do we have to help? Well, we have to help the people who need the help,” said Supervisor Rod Sullivan. “This is what they need. This is the most basic thing.”

Public comments will be heard in person and via Zoom and telephone, at 9 a.m. Thursday at the beginning of the board’s formal voting session.

Public comments will also be heard prior to Wednesday morning’s work session.

At its formal session November 9, the board approved the rezoning of a 1.57-acre property located west of Hills from agricultural to residential.

The property is located south of Bayertown Road SW and east of Lackender Avenue SW.

The Jenn Rezoning allows an existing house to be split from the rest of the larger parcel.

The board also approved a number of final plats, including the Hesseltine Subdivision located south of 400th Street SW and west of Black Hawk Avenue SW, and the Hodge Red Barn Subdivision located north of Black Diamond Road SW and west of Hazelwood Avenue SW. Both properties are located in southwest Johnson County, north of Kalona.

The Hesseltine property, which was rezoned to residential in October, is being platted to create a 2-acre lot around an existing house.

The Hodge Red Barn property is being platted to create a 2-lot farmstead split on 5.86 acres. The connecting farm is more than 46 acres.

The board approved a right-of-way contract with Dorothyjean M. Jensen Trust in the amount of $7,930 so that the county can proceed with a bridge replacement on Rohret Road SW over Mooney Creek in southwestern Johnson County. Work is expected to start in spring 2022.

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