Saturday, April 13th, 2024 Church Directory

County approves $1.275 million in ARPA funding

The Sherburne County Board last week approved over $1.2 million in ARPA funding for different county projects. It is one of the largest bi-weekly funding amounts approved by the board so far.

The biggest amount, $725,000 for a new phone system, will not be immediately spent. IT Director Brian Kamman explained that the current phone system is over a decade old and needs to be either refreshed or replaced. He said IT is looking into different options, and will likely need more analysis before a final decision is made.

“We came to the board at this time to make sure we have the funding available to go forward with analysis and acquisition,” he said.

Administrator Bruce Messelt called the request a “place holder.”

“We’re asking the board to fence off some money for the phone system now,” he said. “We’re getting to the point on ARPA funding that if we don’t fence it, there’s a chance we’ll have a capital expense without it.”

Assistant Administrator Dan Weber said ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds must be committed by 2024 and spent by 2026. Once the funds are gone, capital projects will generally be funded by county tax dollars.

“If these are approved we’ll be down to about $2.5 million,” he said. “So we’re trying to strategically place the money into one-time expenses going forward.”

The board approved the request. They also approved two other requests from the IT department: $300,000 to replace laptops and desktop computers and $10,600 for PhishER, a program designed to help reduce response time for dealing with  SPAM and phishing emails.

Another expenditure was a $185,000 request from the property maintenance department for climate control software. The product is a Schneider Electric EcoStructure building automation system. It will replace the current software system that was installed in 1998.

The final request was for new equipment for the parks department. The total was $55,000 for two attachments to make the existing parks tractor more efficient and versatile. The first is a power blade attachment that allows snow management in smaller places to increase access. The other is a snow tilling trail groomer that will increase safety on icy trails and enable hard-packed snow to be re-groomed for skiing.

That request was also approved.