(The Center Square) – One Michigan county has already planned $20 million in federal COVID spending about four years ahead of the deadline.
Bay County will spend $9 million on a new community health and human services center to provide care from multiple providers. It expects to secure partners and pick possible locations by late 2022, according to spending plans obtained through a records request.
Bay County absorbed $4.2 million to offset $10 million in lost revenue.
The county, boasting a population more than 100,000 people across 14 townships and four cities, will provide $2 million for small business grant funding and $1 million for resident rent, mortgage, utility, and tax assistance.
Of the $2 million for small businesses, $681,500 will fund talent attraction and retention “due to a decrease in population, population aging out of the workforce and more.”
“Small business is the life blood of our community’s economy,” a Jan. 18, 2022, Board of Commissioner resolution says. “These businesses affected by COVID-19 need this critical support.”
The resolution says that Bay Future, the local economic development group, will help create a “one stop organization for talent recruitment, and information branding, K-12 education, leisure activities, housing, local government, and more.”
The Bay Area Community Foundation will get $787,500 to help nonprofits with pandemic-related hardships.
About $1.2 million will fund a compressor project at the Bay County Civic Arena to keep the Olympic and NHL-sized ice surfaces cold year-round for hockey and figure, speed, and open skating.
About $300,0000 is marked for staffing needs at the Boys and Girls Club of the Great Lakes Bay Region of Essexville and Pinconning. A Dec. 14, 2021, resolution says the funding would allow parents to find affordable child care and return to work.
Other budgeted items include $125,000 for four sheriff vehicles, $150,000 for a sheriff boat, $150,000 for a broadband-needs assessment, and $200,000 for a veterans foundation workshop and learning center.
A May 2022 Commissioners resolution says the sheriff is responsible for patrolling 188 square miles of water, and the two current patrol boats are more than 30 years old.
The $20 million was funded by the American Rescue Plan, which gave $350 billion to state, local, and tribal governments to recover from COVID. The obligation deadline is Dec. 31, 2024, and the funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2026.