The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

Officials: Latest Rescue Plan Needs Structure

 

April 28, 2021 | View PDF



Cheyenne County is expecting funds totaling nearly $2 million from the federal government.

The problem is, so far no one knows what it can or cannot be used for, or the specific accountability needed.

In the April 19 meeting of the county commissioners, County Treasurer Shelley Bowlin proposed a resolution establishing Fund 2580 COVID American Rescue Plan. She said the county will be receiving a total of about $1.7 million in two installments.

“The first wave of it should hit in May,” Bowlin said.

The second payment is expected about 12 months later.

According to whitehouse.gov/american-rescue-plan/, the American Rescue Plan “is delivering direct relief to the American people, recusing the American economy, and starting to beat the virus.”

The plan includes • Provide direct relief to Americans, • Safely reopen schools, and • Mount a national vaccination program and contain COVID-19.

In a statement by the National Association of Counties (NACo), the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds legislation, part of the American Rescue Plan Act, was seen as a “major victory for America’s counties” when signed into law by President Biden on March 11.

The State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds legislation includes $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid to every county in America.

The bill also includes investments in local communities and $1.5 billion over two years in public lands counties, according to the NACo website.

NACo affirms the U.S. Department of the Treasury would oversee and administer these payments to state and local governments, and every county would be eligible to receive a direct allocation from the Treasury.

As of Thursday, the U.S. Treasury has not issued guidance on the Recovery Fund.

The lack of framework or direction on how the money can be used is causing county officials stress. Bowlin said any federal funds exceeding $150,000 needs a federal audit.

Commissioners Approve Keno Funding for Park Project

The commissioners also revisited the Sidney Park Project.

The commissioners met with Madi Wilkinson and Ally Benzel in the April 5 meeting regarding the Sidney Park Project. They submitted a request for $25,000 in Keno funding. The commissioners tabled the decision until County Attorney Paul Schaub could review the proposal.

The Sidney Park Project is an effort to revamp the playground at Legion Park to be more inclusive for mobility-challenged people, adults and children of all ages.

In the April 19 meeting, the Schaub confirmed the Keno funds can be used under the definition of “community betterment.” The project was awarded $15,000 of the $25,000 requested.

Other Business

In other business, the commissioners met with Michelle McMillen regarding the Sidney Wranglers horse show, reviewed quotes for a fabric building with Highway Superintendent Doug Hart, approved an agreement with M.C. Schaff & Associates for professional services for asphalt overlay on 17A Spur from the railroad bridge to County Road 32S.

The board also met as the Board of Equalization, meeting with County Assessor Melody Keller regarding a Tax List Correction for Barbara Twarling Homestead Exemption, a Tax List Correction for Sandra Kay Weltz Homestead Exemption, and a Tax List Correction for Thomas Tremel personal property clerical error.

The commissioners also approved Articles of Incorporation for Aging Office of Western Nebraska, approved issuance of Special DesignatedLiquor License to MKSE Norgard LLC, approved a $2,000 grant for the Cheyenne County Community Center 2021 Woodbat Tournament and appointed Anne Rexroth as an alternate member of the Visitors Committee.

 

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