Deputy County Administrative Officer Joel Bugay provided the supervisors with an update on projects funded using pandemic relief funds.

June 20, 2023 — Madera County Board of Supervisors

Documented by Josef Sibala

What happened: On Tuesday, Deputy County Administrative Officer Joel Bugay provided the Madera County Supervisors with an update on the progress of projects funded by $30.5 million in pandemic relief funds allocated to the county.

After providing a brief update on projects, Bugay said that $10.8 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds remained, and recommended the board direct $3.2 million to the rescue package for Madera Community Hospital to pay for expenditures that the county has incurred to help reopen the hospital.

At the suggestion of Chairman David Rogers, the board voted to establish an ARPA committee to direct the remaining funds, and appointed Supervisors Jordan Wamhoff, Robert Poythress, Bugay and administrative analyst Jessica Leon.

“Think a little bit out of the box maybe because we do have some needs that could offset some very important general fund expenditures that we need to make,” Rogers said. “We need to bring our law enforcement back to where it could be, in my opinion, and I think the committee could help do that.”

Bugay said some of the projects already funded with pandemic relief funds were direct assistance for 267 low-income families, 105 grants to small businesses and meals for 80 seniors.

Supervisor Robert Macaulay asked about funding set aside for homeless outreach and Bugay said the Sheriff’s Office used the funds to hire two deputies in the civil unit for two years.

The committee will have until the end of July to make recommendations on the remaining ARPA funds. Bugay said that all ARPA funds must be obligated by December 2024 and spent by December 2026.

Some of the projects already funded with pandemic relief funds are direct assistance for low-income families, small business grants, and senior meals.

And also: Deputy Public Works Director Andrea Saldate said delinquent utility fees will be reinstated in January 2024 and that notifications were mailed to residents with their June utility bills.

Up next: The Madera County Board of Supervisors will meet again on July 11.

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