Knox County whittles list for federal ARPA funds down to social services, housing requests

Mon, 03/07/2022 - 9:30am

Story Location:
63 Union Street
Knox County Courthouse
Rockland, ME 04841
United States

    ROCKLAND – The Knox County Budget Committee and the Knox County Commissioners again met in a Zoom meeting on March 3 to discuss American Rescue Plan Act request for funds from municipalities and nonprofits. On February 17, they had pared down the list of requests for funds from municipalities and nonprofits, and at the most recent meeting, they allowed each entity 10 minutes to present their case.

    Over four joint sessions, the Commissioners and the Budget Committee have applied due diligence to work through the lists of uses for the ARPA funds.

    Initially, more $13 million in requests had been made for $7.5 million in funding. Poring over the requests, the Budget Committee and Commissioners reduced the list to approximately $8.5 million, eliminating some requests from the pool and adding in the County’s own internal expenditure proposals.

    Knox County has already spent $489,000 of the fund as pandemic premium pay to essential workers in 2021. County Administrator Andrew Hart also informed members that there would be associated legal and administrative costs with awarding money to nonprofits and municipalities.  

    While a group might get its requested amount the check would be less those fees, he said. 

    The March 3 meeting and presentations in their entirety can be seen here:  

    Those presenting were as follows: 

    Come Spring Food Pantry is asking for $100,000 for household assistance; food programs and renovation and support of a facility in a rural area. Loraine Francis, board chair for Come Spring Food Pantry made the presentation. 

    Town of Isle au Haut requests $175,000 for conversion of an unlivable house into a duplex used for affordable housing. Ellie Kastanopolous and Peggi Stevens represented Isle au Haut Community Development Corporation in making the presentation. 

    Knox County Homeless Coalition is asking for $4.1 million for affordable housing, supportive housing, housing vouchers, and residential counseling. Mark Primeau with Genesis and Molly Feeney made the presentation.

    Methodist Conference Home (Knox County Meals on Wheels) has asked for $60,000 for expansion of the Knox County Meals on Wheels Program, offering home-delivered meals for the elderly and disabled. Susan diRosario and Elizabeth Schuh made the presentation. 

    Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine is requesting $160,000 for operational support for Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM) services in Knox County. Arian Clements and Emily McGregor made the presentation. 

    Town of Thomaston/Midcoast Health Net is asking for $1.2 million for aid to Nonprofit Organizations Knox Clinic and Town of Thomaston Collaborative for Expanded Knox County Health Care. Meredith Batley (Knox Clinic) and Zel Bowman-Laber (Thomaston Selectboard) make the presentation.

    The Town of Union is asking for $275,000 for capital investment in a second ambulance to allow for better response time. Amy Drinkwater, Jay Feyler, and Jesse Thompson made the presentation.  

    The joint session is scheduled again for March 17. Members will look at both lists and try to come to some decisions. Before a final vote, there must be a public notice and hearing.