Santa Rosa Designates Bulk of $35M in Federal Funds for Infrastructure

Posted on September 28, 2021 by Romi White

County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to earmark $31.5 million of $35.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act money toward infrastructure projects.

As for the remainder of the funds, around $3.785 million will be used to replace certain county revenue losses related to the COVID-19 health emergency, and $537,000, or 1.5%, will be used for administrative expenses associated with invoicing and other requirements associated with the funding.

District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker had hoped to utilize some of the designated infrastructure funding for road improvements. However, per ARPA funding guidelines, those are disallowable expenses. 

Therefore, Parker made a successful motion, which was seconded by District 3 Commissioner James Calkins, to allocate $31,478,640 for storm water and wastewater infrastructure improvement projects, including a $500,000 previously approved allocation for the Northwest Florida Regional Waste Water Reclamation Facility, which will be constructed in East Milton.

“The citizens have asked time and time again for us to invest in infrastructure,” said Calkins. “That is something that we’ve heard time and time again and something that we are doing. My goal is to bring results to the citizens.”

The board also approved a $2 million allotment of infrastructure funding toward the Soundside Drive Septic-to-Sewer conversion project. 

Other specific projects to be funded using ARPA have yet to be determined. 

Santa Rosa County on May 19, 2021 received the first $17.9 million of two installment payments of ARPA funds. The second installment is expected in May 2022.

ARPA federal funds were approved by the federal government earlier this year, establishing the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program.