American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

Washington County's American Rescue Plan Act report

This is the report as it was sent to the U.S. Treasury Aug. 31, 2021. While this report will be updated annually, the elements of the program may be revised in the interim, which will be reflected in the details of the plan listed below. 

In addition to funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, Washington County also received received $31.7 million  from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act in 2020. See how Washington County used those funds to support community safety initiatives, and support county residents and businesses in the county.

Washington County is reporting how American Rescue Plan Act funds were directed for the first quarter of 2022.

Washington County seeks requests for funds for broadband investment

The Washington County Board of Commissioners has allocated $2 million for investments in broadband within Washington County. 

The Broadband Grant Program will provide 1:1 matching grant funding to cities, townships, and broadband providers for the expansion of high speed broadband. Eligible project areas include any unserved or underserved area within Washington County. An unserved or underserved household or business is one that is not currently serviced by a wireline connection that delivers a reliable broadband services with a minimum speed of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.

 Completed projects must allow enrollment in a low-income subsidy program. Recipients may use the funds to cover limited costs incurred for eligible projects on or after March 22, 2022. Applications are accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Find more information on this explainer.

This is the grant management portal. The portal requires users to create a log in. Questions may be directed to this email address.

  1. Executive Summary

Washington County, while a county that is fortunate to have natural, financial, and human resources, has residents who were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as did every area in the country. Its leadership and residents are grateful to have additional resources to rebuild the organization and assist residents as the pandemic abates. 

A number of projects will address needs and deficiencies and inequities that were exacerbated in the county by the pandemic. The hungry became more evident, the unhoused became more prevalent, the un- and under-employed suffered more acutely from their financial plight. A number of programs will address and, it is hoped, alleviate these deficiencies going forward. 

This report includes a list of projects and initiatives that the county will undertake in its recovery. 

If you have comments on the proposed plan, they may be submitted through this email form.

Response to the Washington County American Rescue Plan Act program

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  1. Use of Funds
  2. Equitable Outcomes
  3. Community Engagement
  4. Use of Evidence

Washington County is approaching its recovery efforts in two phases. The first phase over the first two years commits approximately 80% of the county’s allocation to address continued response to ongoing pandemic needs, focusing on recovery for those most impacted by the public health emergency, addressing long-standing gaps in the economy that prevent equitable economic recovery, and shoring up government services to continue to serve the needs of the community. 

Almost 38% of the county’s allocation has been dedicated to the public health response. Ensuring availability and access to COVID-19 vaccination and testing best positions the county to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Equipment, service, and building modifications in the recovery plan will assist in the response to COVID-19. 

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides the county the opportunity to bolster its Crisis Response Team to address the increasing mental health needs within the county.

The county’s allocation addresses economic gaps experienced by residents, businesses, and non-profits by focusing on food security, internet access, and job training, and targets support to those hardest hit by the pandemic. It addresses housing stability with housing outreach and an Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Community Health Workers will address the health disparities exacerbated by the pandemic. 

The county is using a portion of the allocation to improve the county’s infrastructure to better position itself for the ongoing public health emergency. Investments in the county’s information technology, capital equipment needs, and staff augmentation – for example, in the attorney’s division to address the case backlog as a result of the pandemic – will allow the county to continue its recovery and preparation for a future COVID-19 response. 

The second phase of the county’s response is dependent on evaluation and assessment of phase one efforts.

  1. Public Health
  2.  Economic Impacts
  3. Impacted Communities
  4. Infrastructure
  5. Revenue Replacement

Public Health $19,180,793

COVID-19 Vaccination Planning & Implementation, $500,000

This project is part of the county’s COVID-19 response, mitigation, and prevention activities and will include costs for staff, supplies, and materials. The county’s program will prioritize unserved or underserved communities in the county by basing vaccination efforts on geography, paired with the Minnesota Department of Health social vulnerability index for clinic offerings.

COVID-19 Testing, $500,000

This project continues the county’s testing program and will include supplies, staff time, and materials. The county’s program will prioritize unserved or underserved communities by providing varying testing sites and times, and addressing transportation needs and language barriers within the community to ensure accessibility.

Protective Equipment & Measures, $500,000

This project will provide safety measures for virus transmission mitigation, including materials and supplies for personal protection, temporary modifications, enhanced cleaning, materials, and supplies for ongoing telework.

Stillwater Campus Heating and Cooling Improvements, $8,000,000

This project will replace the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems throughout the Washington County Stillwater campus, including boilers and chillers, and associated piping, pumps, and motors. The new equipment will provide a higher energy efficiency than the current equipment. Enhancements would include increased air flow and outside air intake

Building Modifications to Ensure Safe Service Delivery, $5,101,535

The project would reconfigure workstations and office spaces to accommodate changes in workstyles, including telework, due to the pandemic. Reconfiguration of front reception desks throughout county will enhance safety between front desk staff and the public, and increase security. Upgrades and installation of A/V equipment throughout the county will allow for enhanced virtual interaction between staff working between sites, between home and office, and between staff and clients.

Public Health Enhancements to County Environmental Centers, $439,800

The county uses its environmental center to support public health preparedness. This project will provide dedicated space in Woodbury, and at the new center in Forest Lake, for supplies and equipment needed to respond to public health emergencies.

Library Express Lockers, $350,000

The Library has express lockers in Hugo, Newport, and Marine on St. Croix. In 2020, the use of these lockers was 52% higher than in 2019. Also in 2020, all Washington County Library branches provided curbside pickup, a much-needed service during the pandemic. Adding express lockers outside all branches would provide 24/7 access to library materials across the county, and could replace the curbside pickup service.

Safe Working Environment at Big Marine Park Reserve, $168,000

The staff building at Big Marine Park Reserve does not have running water, staff restrooms, or a handwashing station. This project would add these basic amenities for staff, so staff have better opportunities to wash before eating, after using a restroom, and after being in a public place.

Safe Handling of Deposits, $100,000

This is for contactless safes to reduce armored car pick-ups. In addition to reducing the county's armored car expense, it eliminates contact between the armored car driver and county staff.

Public Health Records Assessment and Support, $400,000

This project improves the design and execution of public health records within the county to position the county to better address and assess health disparities in the county.

Payroll and Benefit Costs of Those Directly Responding to the Pandemic, $2,669,658

While the costs have dropped significantly in 2021 from 2020, the county continues to incur salary and benefit costs for those directly responding to the pandemic, including costs to administer these federal funds.

Virtual Meeting Service and Support, $201,800

The County Board Room requires a high-quality production to meet the needs of commissioners, the public, and county staff who attend meetings and workshops. In addition to the Board Room, there are 197 conference rooms that serve the public and departments that routinely need support for maintenance and programming. This position will develop conference room standards and a training program for staff, and coordinate contracted work that cannot be completed internally. This will support telework and client services.

Crisis Response Mental Health Services Augmentation, $250,000

The longer-term impacts of COVID-19 are yet to be determined, and there has been both an influx of new mental health intakes, as well as the suspension of routine case closures. This creates a swell of caseloads across programs. This project would employ the appropriate number of special project positions through July 31, 2023, to administer assistance programs based on current needs