Goskagit

The Skagit County Board of Commissioners received an update Tuesday on federal funds headed the county’s way thanks to recently passed federal legislation.

County Administrator Trisha Logue told commissioners during a meeting that the county is expecting to receive about $25 million as part of the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law in March.

The funds are to be used on the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Half will be made available within 60 days of the law’s passage, and the other half available in a year.

The county has through 2024 to spend the funds on uses that may include help for impacted industries such as tourism, help for nonprofits, and improvements on water, sewer and broadband systems.

The commissioners have yet to decide how the money will be spent.

“The federal government is trying to restart the economy and get things moving,” Commissioner Lisa Janicki said.

Commissioner Ron Wesen said the county should carefully consider potential uses of the funding.

“We want to make good choices. This is one-time money,” he said.

Additional funds may be made available specifically for public health purposes and capital projects. Skagit County received $9 million in funding through earlier legislation known as the CARES Act.

Commissioner Peter Browning said the county can learn a lot about priorities in a situation as difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic, which may better prepare it for the future.

“This is a very good learning opportunity. An unfortunate one, but a good learning opportunity,” he said.

Additional funding will be made available for Skagit County’s cities and towns, which are expected to receive a total of $17.6 million. The state will receive about $1.85 billion in aid to school districts, though the amount specifically tabbed for Skagit County districts is not yet known.

Counties and other governments must follow federal guidelines on how to spend the money.

Reporter Trevor Pyle: 360-416-2156, tpyle@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @goskagit, Facebook.com/bytrevorpyle

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