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County mayor updates commissioners on indigent care trust fund and spending of the ARPA funds



 The four resolutions on the Oct. 10 Carroll County Legislative Body meeting agenda were approved with County Mayor Joseph Butler also providing updates on the possibility of establishing a perpetual trust fund to assist the medically indigent in the county and on the spending of the county’s money allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Two of the resolutions on the agenda concerned the reappointments of of Meredith Surber and John Mann to the Carroll County Indigent Board while another resolution brought a new member, Renee Ford, to the board.

The three terms are good until Sept. 2025.

The fourth resolution that passed authorized the Carroll County Highway Department to perform road work in the way of street repair for municipalities within the county. The county is to be reimbursed for the employee wages, materials, use of equipment, wear and tear on equipment and liability premiums.

Notaries elected included: Katie Gergar, Jacqualine Graham, Christy Johnson, Ashley L. Smith, Terri L. Norval and Jacob Smothers.

A vacancy on the Carroll County School Board will be filled by commissioners at the Nov. 14 meeting. The nominees must live in the McKenzie, Bruceton area. No one qualified to run in the Aug. 4 election for the position.

The county mayor informed commissioners about the Private Acts of 1983 Chapter 42 that allows counties with a population of not less than 28,285 and no more than 28,385, to create a perpetual trust fund. It is for the  purpose of assisting the medically indigent in such counties in paying for their in-patient and out-patient hospital care and ambulance service rendered to them by not-for-profit hospital and ambulance facilities. 

The trust fund would be managed and governed by a board of trustees consisting of nine citizens of the county who would be appointed.

County commissioners would be required to pass a resolution by two-thirds majority to which it may apply within six months from and after its approval by the Chief Executive of the state, or after its otherwise effective date.

Concerning the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) update, the county mayor said the county was allocated about $5.4 million, half of which was received last September. The other half is expected to be received this October. The Act says the funds are to be obligated by the end of  the calendar year of 2024, and to be spent by the end of calendar year 2026.

The Treasury Dept. released the Final Rule for the Fund program on Jan. 6, 2022. The ruling, effective April 1, 2022, provides additional clarity and flexibility on uses, including capital expenditures. To secure such flexibility, counties have to  pass a resolution accepting up to $10M as revenue loss and to be used for “General Government Services”, which the County Legislative Body did in June of this year, by way of Resolution 6-4-2022.

These are the obligations and expenditures to date. They include: employee bonus, $430,000, obligated and spent; Broadband, $500,000, obligated, (22,000,000) in projects); TDEC, $500,000, obligated, ($10,000,000 in projects); Fire Department, $300,000, obligated, ($420,000 through CDBG); Rescue Squad, $60,000, obligated, spent; Health Dept., $125,000, obligated, $375,000 match; Election Commission, $50,000, obligated, spent, poll books; Civic Center, $200,000, obligated, spent; Solid Waste, $300,000, obligated, half spent, roofing and recycling baler; Sheriff’s Office, $160,000, obligated, spent, security system; Courthouse, $130,000, obligated, renovations.

The total of these spending amounts is $2,755,000.

“Our goal has been to make the most of this money and ways to extend it further,” said Butler. “It will control and maintain our current tax rate.”

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