WAHOO – Saunders County will receive $4,184, 920 in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, Saunders County Clerk Patti Lindgren said during the Saunders County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 16.
The county will receive the first half of the funding this coming May and the second half will be given to the county one year from then in May 2022. The aid was based on population.
The $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill was signed by President Joe Biden on March 11 and included direct aid to every county in America which did not happen previously. Coronavirus aid previously went straight to the state making counties apply for grant in order to get funding.
Lindgren said there were certain stipulations to what the funding could be utilized for, but they have not been finalized yet. Lindgren also said that if the county does not comply with these guidelines for the funds, the county will have to pay back the United States Treasury.
The county will need to establish a fund through a public hearing in order to amend the budget. This fund will help to keep track of money used. As of now, there are no plans for how the money will be used, Lindgren said after the meeting.
“That is good news,” District 3 Supervisor Craig Breunig said.
During open discussion, the county board also heard from a group of concerned parents about the use of masks in the Mead Public Schools district and issues with Three Rivers Health Department COVID-19 risk dial and data, claiming the information is inaccurate.
Maureen Hunt spoke on behalf of the group asking the county board for support in the matter. The last few months, the group has attended the Mead Public School Board of Education meetings requesting that the mask mandate be lifted. Their request was denied in the most recent meeting on March 8.
School Board Member Stephanie Langemeier attended the county board meeting and said that the other school board members are concerned about the liability of removing the mask requirement.
Because the county board does not oversee Three Rivers Health Department or the school d, there’s not much it can do about the group’s concerns, District 2 Supervisor Doris Karloff said. The supervisors recommended that the school board invites a representative from Three Rivers to the next school board meeting on April 12.
“I think you as a school board need to make that contact and ask someone to come to your meeting,” Karloff said. “I think that’s a very good start. We will make contact in regard to your being here but as far as that goes, that’s about what we’ve got.”
In other business, the county board authorized Youth Services Director Amber Pelan to submit applications for three grants totaling $222,635 in state funding.