By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Two Canadian County rural water districts have been given shares of the county’s federal stimulus award.
Canadian County Commissioners, at their weekly meeting Aug. 14, voted unanimously to allocate $542,384.25 to the Canadian County (Banner) Water Authority and $53,296.88 to the Maple Water District.
Commissioners will wait before deciding how much to allocate to the Okarche Water District.
They previously agreed to distribute $913,095 to these three rural water districts that applied for shares of Canadian County’s $28,806,702 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) award.
Monday’s action leaves $317,413.87 left to allocate in the rural water category.
Funding requests totaled $1,776,475.88 from the three rural water districts.
Commissioners approved allocating 75% of the Banner Water Authority’s funding application ($723,179) and 100% of Maple Water District’s request.
They agreed to revisit Okarche’s application “at a later date.”
The Okarche Water District asked for $1 million in Canadian County ARPA funds. The district serves customers in both Canadian and Kingfisher counties.
Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries, who administers Canadian County’s ARPA program, had hoped an Okarche Water District representative would attend the commissioners’ meeting to answer questions and provide more details about their funding request.
Most of the work in Okarche’s proposed rural water project will occur in Kingfisher County although they serve Canadian County residents, Humphries noted.
Okarche’s rural water district also requested ARPA funds from Kingfisher County – but did not receive any, he added.
The Banner Water Authority is a Canadian County public trust.
“We’re the beneficiary of that trust,” Canadian County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson said.
Part of the Banner Water Authority’s ARPA funding request is for work related to a Highway 152 widening project.
“I don’t think they expect a 100% funding,” said Anderson, the District 2 commissioner. “We would be helping them further their mission at around 50 or 70% of what they asked for.
“Banner is very involved right now in finding resources to do the work they have to do.”
Anderson suggested “fully funding” the Maple Water District’s ARPA request.
“They could have asked for a lot more and didn’t,” he pointed out.
ARPA is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package designed to speed up the country’s recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing recession.
Federal ARPA stimulus funds may be used to:
- Restore lost revenues for any negative tax impact due to lower economic activity.
- Upgrade and improve Internet broadband, water and sewer infrastructure.
- Respond to the negative economic impacts and public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to be prepared for any future pandemics.
- Provide premium pay for essential employees who undertook required public health-related work during the pandemic.
TWO OTHER CATEGORIES
Canadian County Commissioners, at their May 30th meeting, approved ARPA fund distributions totaling just over $1 million in a second category – municipal water and sewer:
- City of Mustang – $2,802,612
- City of El Reno – $2,438,044
- City of Yukon – $3,725,438
- City of Piedmont – $1,040,536
Canadian County’s four largest municipalities formally requested the following shares of Canadian County’s award: Mustang ($3,560,000), El Reno ($3,500,000), Yukon ($4,350,000), and Piedmont ($1,406,499).
Mustang received 78.7% of its requested amount, El Reno 69.7%, Yukon 85.6%, and Piedmont 74%.
Canadian County’s municipal water obligations total $10,348,411, with the remaining funds to be distributed to the small municipalities of Union City and Calumet.
Canadian County Commissioners also plan to distribute $913,095 in ARPA funds in a third category – community services.
Funding requests totaled $3,023,508 from five entities – Red Rock Behavioral Health ($1,699,775), Cardinal Point Family Justice Center ($454,265), SCARS-Second Chance and Re-entry Services ($336,000), ICAN-Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network ($33,468), and Boy Scouts Last Frontier Council ($500,000).
Canadian County Commissioners earlier obligated $16,632,100 of its $28.8 million ARPA award:
- $10 million for estimated “lost” Canadian County revenue, which may be used toward construction of a new county courthouse complex.
- $6.2 million to the Canadian County Health Department. Some $6,005,867.92 has been spent to acquire property near SH-66 and Evans Road for a new CCHD site.
- $432,100 to the Canadian County District Attorney’s Office to administer the county’s ARPA funds over five years. $86,420 has been spent.
Canadian County and its municipalities must follow a federal reporting process as the ARPA funds are obligated and spent.