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Fire Department Deadlines Extended

by Randy Pierce

MADISON COUNTY — Fire departments in Collinsville and Glen Carbon are among the six in Madison County that have been granted extensions of the deadlines by which they are required to spend grant funding awards of $60,000 each received as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

At the March meeting of the Madison County Board, unanimous approval was provided on a package of a half dozen agreement amendments which were brought forward by its finance and government operations committee chaired by Chris Guy of Maryville.

Each of those amendments provided an extension until June 30 of this year for the two above-mentioned fire departments and four others (Hamel, Cottage Hills, Mitchell, Rosewood Heights) to use their $60,000 shares of the ARPA funds. It was in late November of 2022 that the county and the fire departments entered into the agreements concerning the “subawards” as they were identified.

Derived from the coronavirus pandemic-related state and local “fiscal recovery funds,” the grant monies come with the requirement that certain recordkeeping, procurement and other usage provisions are followed including a timeframe by which this should occur.

If any of the fund recipient entities fail to comply with all aspects of the agreements and the United States Department of Treasury would demand repayment or reimbursement of the grant money, the individual fire departments would be responsible for doing so.

It was in January of 2023 that the county board formally approved designating this money for 25 fire departments, including the six getting the deadline extensions plus those serving Troy and St. Jacob Township, along with another share for the village of St. Jacob.

Defined as revenue replacement funds for the fire district budgets, the overall grand total of $1.5 million, equally divided to cover all of the taxing entities which have been supported by this action, was originally granted in September of 2022 as an “immediate emergency appropriation” to help with their coverage of expenses.

The provisions of the ARPA, however, allowed for any of that money that was not spent in 2022 to be reappropriated for the following two fiscal years.

The original source of this support was the $51,078,063 received by the county through the ARPA, the same program which provided personal “stimulus checks” to the nation’s residents from a$1.9 trillion economic package proposed by President Joe Biden to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent ongoing recession.

That federal legislation, after being reviewed and acted upon at various levels in Washington, D.C., was passed by the United States House of Representatives on March 10, 2021, by a vote of 220–211 then signed into law by President Biden the next day which was the first anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

   

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