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Commissioners talk about use of remaining ARPA funds

YORK – The York County Commissioners will have to determine by the end of 2024 how they will use the county’s remaining ARPA (federal COVID relief) dollars.

They have slowly been using the funds for special projects since receiving it several years ago.

This week, York County Commissioner Chairman Randy Obermier said about $800,000 will be held in the ARPA fund at the end of the year.

“And we have about $1.39 million in prioritized road/bridge projects we want to do,” Obermier said. “These will have to be considered and prioritized further as we work through the budget process, so we can decide which road/bridge projects we want to do using these remaining funds.”

The projects have to be identified by the end of the year, as the ARPA funds have to be fully earmarked by the end of the year. The projects can be accomplished later – but the funds have to be identified and earmarked by the end of the calendar year.

The matter was discussed during the county board’s committee reports.

In additional reports, Obermier said some meetings have been held with Davis Design as they put together a conception for a project which will extend and expand the garage area on the south side of the courthouse.

Obermier also acknowledged Leila Luft has resigned her position as the director of the county’s 911 emergency communications center. “She will be greatly, greatly missed,” Obermier said. “She is taking a job with Lancaster County. She was here from the beginning of creating our new call center and has been instrumental in making our emergency call center what it is today. She has been in her profession for 14 years, which is a lot.”

He also noted Cal Friesen was retiring from his position as maintenance director at the courthouse. “He has agreed to help part-time during the transition, if needed. Brian Lewis will be taking over the position. He was an employee of the roads department before and he had helped Cal before, so that is good.”

Commissioner LeRoy Ott and Commissioner Jack Sikes talked about attended a recent meeting of the county’s veterans service committee. Sikes said a reappointment to the committee will be brought forward during the county board’s next meeting.

Ott also said he had been to board meetings for Region V and Apace, as he sits as the county’s representative on both boards.

Sikes said he attended a meeting of the board of the county aging services committee and said director, Lori Beyers, was able to fill all the staff vacancies in the county’s transportation department, thanks to pay increases recently approved by the commissioners.

Commissioner Daniel Grotz noted how he attended a meeting of the executive board of the York County Development Corporation, as well as a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Soukup facility on Division Avenue, saying it was a “great event to welcome them to York County.”

“I also had the opportunity to be a guest judge for the York High School Modern Issues Class. It was very interesting to hear their perspectives,” Grotz said.

Commissioner Andy Bowman was given a list of committees he is being asked to work with, in fulfilling the duties the late Commissioner Stan Boehr had earlier assumed.

Obermier also wanted to note something interesting he had learned during a NIRMA conference he had recently attended. “The speaker said 82% of people today reportedly say they are dissatisfied with their jobs even though employers are providing the best benefits and highest pay in history. The speaker said this is happening because our society has devalued work. I just thought it was a very interesting session and wanted to share what the speaker said.”

Grotz also added how the county’s technology committee was slated to meet this past week.

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