Here's how Bannock County will use its remaining COVID-19 recovery funds

POCATELLO – Bannock County Commissioners have set aside $17 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for 29 new projects.

ARPA was passed by Congress in 2021 to help local communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioners fulfilled the promise of these funds on April 15 when they voted against earmarking funding for the proposed Forensic Pathology Center. The $4.5 million that was supposed to go toward the center was redistributed among other ARPA projects.

Related | Bannock County commissioners reject East Idaho Forensic Pathology Center

Commissioner Ernie Moser says, “We wanted something that was permanent and not just thrown away into something that you forget about the next year.”

Here are the projects that have been approved but not completed yet:

  • The event center will receive a new flag pole for $10,000.
  • Installing ADA compliant doors for elections office for $25,000.
  • Purchasing a water truck for the race track and grounds at the event center for $44,000.
  • $50,000 upgrade of grandstand seating at the event center.
  • ?The Ag Extension building will be renovated for $50,000.
  • $165,000 upgrade and renovation of the Bannock County Historical Museum.
  • Paying off enterprise leases for county vehicles for $279,000.
  • Two boiler replacements for the courthouse for $350,000.
  • The Bannock County Veterans Memorial Building will receive $388,175 in upgrades and repairs.
  • New security cameras will be installed at county facilities and the event center and existing cameras will be upgraded for $400,000.
  • The road and bridge building will be replaced for $500,000.
  • The county will get two dump trucks and blades for snow plowing for $710,000.
  • The 6th Street entrance to the Courthouse and Elections Office is being renovated for $750,000.
  • Building renovations for the assessor's office including expansion of the DMV counter for $750,000.
  • 911 microwave towers will be upgraded for $900,000.
  • A building will be constructed for $1,544,519 to house the Youth Development Center and Event Center office.
  • The old building at the Bannock County Fairgrounds would be torn down and two barns, an office, a meeting room and an exhibit building would be constructed for $1,600,000.
  • The detention center and sheriff's office will receive $2,362,825 in building maintenance, security, landscaping and other upgrades, including reconstruction to house search and rescue and the SWAT team building.

Here are the projects that have been completed so far:

  • ADA compliant doors were installed at the detention center for $21,920.
  • The county purchased a tractor for $25,000 to furnish the event center.
  • The IT department received a router upgrade for $52,592.
  • A truck was purchased for public works for $54,060.
  • E-poll books for the election were purchased for $58,650.
  • The estimated cost of the building for the Forensic Pathology Center is $110,696.
  • “The Village” Safe Teen Assessment Center was constructed for $110,696.
  • The roof of the detention center was replaced for $949,750.
  • McCammon Fire Station was awarded a $949,750 roof replacement.
  • The Portneuf Wellness Complex received a sewer upgrade for $1,502,000.
  • The first event season brought $2,000,000 in cash flow to the Bannock County Event Center.

Moser said all of these projects offer a variety of benefits.

One example he mentioned was The Village, a safety and recovery center for teens. In seven months of operation, it has already served 500 people.

Gram IdEdNews
The village opened in August with the help of ARPA funding. , file photo

Related | Village: Instead of making children criminals – help them

He also pointed to projects that will benefit south Bannock County, one of which is the new ambulance bay in McCammon.

“We felt it would have great longevity, it would bring safety and it provides a lot of services for the southern end of the county, and so it became a priority,” Moser said.

The county received requests for ARPA funds worth approximately $200 million. Due to the limited amount of money, many who requested it were disappointed not to receive any.

Moser wishes to be able to provide funding to everyone who requests it. He felt that everyone who came before him took the process seriously, but he had to evaluate projects based on what impact they would have on the county.

“When it comes down to it, we have to focus on how county funds are spent for the benefit of all people in the county,” Moser said.

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