HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) – Horry County officials have the preliminary framework in place for how the county will spend its $68.8 million share of federal American Rescue Plan funds.
The county has already received the first of two $34.4 million payments from the federal government on May 30. The second payment will come in June 2022, and all of the money must be spent by June 2024, officials said.
The plan was outlined to members of the county’s Administration Committee Tuesday afternoon. During the meeting, officials described it as a “living process” and stressed that how the money is spent could ultimately change based on public input or availability of other resources, such as Community Development Block Grant Funding.
The initial plan calls for directing $3.4 million on public health and emergency personnel payroll. This could include supporting COVID-19 vaccination programs, ventilation programs in congregate or health care settings, contact tracing, and other medical and behavioral health care needs.
Another $31 million, of 45 percent of the money, would be used to support the tourism, travel and hospitality industries. It would make loans and grants available to small businesses and would be used to support other local projects, including beach bathrooms, an equestrian center and industrial park infrastructure.
Another $6.9 million would be used to support unemployed workers through job training, food, affordable housing, survivor’s benefits. One local project would include the acquisition of a touchless payment system for public transportation.
An additional $6.8 million would be used to improve access to clean drinking water and for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure projects.
The plan would also allocate $12.7 million for government services “to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic.” This could include support for cybersecurity, remote working capabilities, and other security and facility upgrades.
The remaining $8 million would be used for administrative expenses and project contingency.
While the county has many options for how to spend the money, there are some limitations, officials said.
ARP money cannot be deposited into pension funds, used for debt service, applied to legal settlements or judgments, deposited into rainy day funds or financial reserves, or used to provide matching funds for federal grant programs.
A public hearing on the plan has been scheduled for 3 p.m. Aug. 17 in Multipurpose Room B at the Horry County Government and Justice Center in Conway. Public comment on the plan begins Friday and will continue through Aug. 17.
Horry County Council is scheduled to consider the plan at its Sept. 7 meeting.