Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON - The Washington County Board of Supervisors is hesitant to start allocating funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) despite recent go-aheads from the federal government.
With finalized rules for the money still pending after months of public comment the Treasury announced in September that the interim rules already published could guide decisions for municipalities hoping to act sooner.
“Until Treasury adopts a final rule and the final rule becomes effective, the Interim Final Rule is, and will remain, binding and effective,” the department said in a statement. “Recipients can and should rely on the Interim Final Rule to determine whether uses of funds are eligible under this program … Funds used in a manner consistent with the Interim Final Rule while the Interim Final Rule is effective will not be subject to recoupment.”
Washington County officials said they were skeptical of the guidance, and planned to proceed slowly.
"The word that I put out at the last department head meeting was no matter what, we’re going to proceed with caution,“ Board Member Stan Stoops said. ”There were people who wanted us to move.“
Board Member Marcus Fedler agreed.
“Speaking from experience, they can change their mind and require things that we didn’t anticipate,” Fedler said. “There’s nothing more frustrating than agreeing to do something and then having it changed three months later. It’s like, ‘Well, I didn’t really want to do that, but now I have to.’ I don’t see any reason to put the county in jeopardy, spending money that we would have to take from other places to do it.”
The County has started assembling a list of options for the relief money, though Stoops said it was still being hashed out by county departments.
“I have a lot of department heads emailing me, and I have a bit of a list started,” Stoops said. “That’s where we’re at.”