Probation program, fairground losses approved for ARPA funding

The Adams County Board discusses business during its Oct. 12 meeting. The board approved resolutions for two proposals for American Rescue Plan Act funding.

QUINCY — Two resolutions seeking American Rescue Plan Act funding were approved by the Adams County Board on Tuesday.

The first resolution authorized $50,000 for the Adams County Empowered, or ACE program.

This pilot program aims to provide employment opportunities for residents on probation who are unemployed or underemployed. The hope is to provide assistance for 25 of about 100 eligible residents on probation during the six-month trial run.

Adams County Finance Committee Chairman Bret Austin said the county already is seeing good buy-in from local companies to participate.

“All that (board members) are agreeing to right now is the $50,000 outlay from ARPA over a six-month period,” Austin said. “Then it’ll come back to us and we’ll reassess if that’s a program that will continue.”

The second resolution authorized $177,000 for the Adams County Fairgrounds to recover lost revenue by not hosting events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

County board member Mark Peter, R-5, said there have been between two and three events per month around the year at the fairgrounds ranging from flea markets to monster truck events.

“You can see license plates from a lot of places other than Illinois in there during all of these events,” Peter said. “It’s well-used and the people that operate it put in lots of hours, volunteer hours, and we have one of the best fairs in the state and we should take pride in what we have here.”

Both resolutions were approved without opposition.

Austin also provided an update on HVAC improvements to the Adams County Health Department building, another ARPA-funded project, during Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.

Austin said the estimate for the project was much higher than what was initially projected.

“One of the reasons is the infrastructure of what’s there is completely different than what they want to use in terms of zones and even the type of system,” Austin said during Monday’s Finance Committee.

Although the project hasn’t been out to bid, it would take about six years for the energy savings to make up for the additional project costs based on the current estimate.

“And the system should last for 20 (years),” Austin said.

The county board also heard details on the preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Austin said the county should be very close to getting a flat property tax rate over last year.

“We do see decent EAV increase in the county,” Austin said.

However, there may be some issues with general fund expenses for county departments.

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