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County seeks input on how COVID stimulus funds should be used

By Carla O'Day
Washoe County Commission chambers in Reno, Nevada. Image: Bob Conrad.

Washoe County is seeking feedback from the public on how to use its $91.5 million share of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package.

Funds are required to be spent in specific categories:

  • COVID-19 mitigation, which include the mobile vaccination clinic and UNR wastewater study
  • Services to disproportionately impacted communities, which include child care, homelessness services and affordable housing
  • Infrastructure, which consists of broadband, along with sewer and water projects
  • Negative economic impacts, which includes aid to non-profit organizations

An update on the county’s plan, which includes information on the types of projects eligible, is available online, and feedback can be provided here.

Washoe County Community Reinvestment Manager Gabrielle Enfield said county staff has been coordinating with the Nevada Treasurer’s Office to complement statewide programs and not duplicate efforts locally. 

Half of funds have been received by Washoe County and the other $45.7 million from the federal government is expected in May 22, Enfield said.

“We only have half of these funds right now,” Enfield said. “So we need to coordinate our projects so that we can start the ones we can get started on now, so that we have enough projects started and the timing of expenditures is appropriate to when we’ll be getting the next round of funding.”

Project implementation can start as early as January, although funds must be allocated by December 2024 and spent by December 2026.

“When I ask for feedback from constituents on how we should spend ARPA funds, I ask them, ‘What would enhance your quality of life in Washoe County?,’” Commissioner Kitty Jung said. “I encourage citizens to put a little bit of dream in it. The use of these funds can be transformational for our community, and sustainable too.”

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