By Mike Kruzman /

Livingston County officials have approved a strategic vision for potential spending of American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds.

The County is receiving $37.2-million of ARPA funding. A resolution before the Board of Commissioners, on Monday, states that they have requested input from county department leadership and the public on how to designate the funds, and have received back many requests for projects to be funded. The Board approved an intention to utilize the following strategic-initiative categories and potential spending allocations, stating that this does not constitute project approval or selection: $12-million will be slotted for rural broadband; $10-million for lost-revenue funding; $5-million for community funding initiatives; $4-million for organizational funding; $4-million for expense reallocation initiatives; and $2.2-million for additional ARPA-eligible projects.

During public comment, Livingston County Democratic Party Chair Judy Daubenmier and Unadilla Township Trustee Lori Cowan expressed disappointment at the broadband allocation, wishing it was larger and wanting a backup plan if additional broadband grants weren’t awarded to the County.

Commissioner Doug Helzerman said that, to his understanding, these were just starting point numbers and could change. He suggested having a work session at some point devoted to this plan, and felt that there may be pressure further down the line to put more money towards rural broadband.

Daubenmier also felt too much was being allocated for lost-revenue funding initiatives. The Board’s resolution states that ARPA allows for a designation of up to $10-million for that use.

The Board approved what they have named this “Vision Tour for the Strategic Use of ARPA Funding” unanimously.