Federal funds to support Clark County re-entry program needs

Up to $70,000 of federal relief will go toward technology and emergency transition funding for the Clark County Reentry Services Department.

The Clark County Commission on Wednesday authorized the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation.

Wednesday’s allocation will go to case management software and funding toward the reentry department’s emergency transition program to assist people exiting incarceration.

Roughly $300,000 in federal relief was allocated in February to cover the costs of programming and personnel expenses for reentry services for people preparing to leave incarceration in Clark County. A director for the program was hired in June: Dr. Brooke Wagner.

Wagner previously said that work of reentry is to help people leaving incarceration return to their community. Wagner worked with the county’s former Reentry Coalition, where she helped measure recidivism – the tendency of a convicted person to reoffend – at the Clark County Jail.

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The $70,000 allocation was funded through the county’s standard allowance, which is the $10 million portion of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that can be used for the reimbursement of revenue loss due to the pandemic.

The amount of revenue lost by a county to the pandemic was originally determined by a formula created for the ARPA that compares revenues from pre-pandemic years to revenue earned during the pandemic.

Last September, commissioners approved spending of ARPA funds to reimburse the county for an estimated $1.38 million worth of lost revenue that resulted from the pandemic through Dec. 31, 2020.

In April, the commission authorized $8.6 million of federal relief to reimburse the county for lost revenue and government services.

From the $10 million in ARPA funding in the standard allowance, $800,000 is also being used to cover the costs of a waterline extension project on Rt. 235, a mobile command center for the Clark County Emergency Management Agency and architect fees for renovations slated for the Clark County Courthouse.

A total of $26 million was allocated to Clark County from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in March 2021. A total of $350 billion was allocated to help local governments across the country reeling from the pandemic.

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The Clark County commission has allocated ARPA funding to more than 20 projects and other items, such as employee paid administrative leave and technology for the county’s dispatch center, expected to open this year.

Commissioners also approved ARPA spending for a stormwater improvement project for Enon-Xenia Road to alleviate flooding in the area and for a fiber optic project to service county-owned buildings, as well as a safety improvement project for Spangler Road.

Up to $2.5 million in the federal relief dollars was allocated to reimburse the county for a portion of dispatch center costs,

Another $220,000 was allocated in January to assist Clark County veterans seeking aid through the county veterans office.

The commission also voted to allocate $125,000 for a part-time position for several years for the Ohio State University extension office of Clark County. The position will focus on assisting the county’s local food program and community gardens. In addition, roughly $260,000 in ARPA funding was allocated to reimburse the county for COVID-19 health care expenses incurred by the county self-insurance health care program.

The federal relief funds this summer were also allocated to cover $60,000 worth of staffing increases at the Clark County Dog Warden’s Office as dogs continue to fill the shelter at max capacity.

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