Park County’s political leaders met on Monday to discuss their plans for more than $8.15 million in stimulus funding it received this spring. The funding was allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March.
Representatives from Park County, the City of Cody, the City of Powell and the Town of Meeteetse gathered at the courthouse to discuss eligible project ideas, but county commissioner Dossie Overfield stressed the meeting was little more than a brainstorming session.
“Nothing concrete yet,” she said.
But she did say a variety of sewer and water projects will likely make the to-do list, a thought seconded by Cody Mayor Matt Hall. The Park County Sewer Lagoons are a prime target, already designated in the last year for expansion due to critically high surface levels at the facility.
Hall said with more people moving into the county and building houses outside of town, there will be more septic systems straining the current system.
He said city and county staff are examining the abilities of the septic system and should have answers by the fall.
There may be potential for the municipalities to team up with the county to fund joint projects.
“We’re still finding out the answer to that question,” Overfield said.
Local funds can be used to invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure and what is described by the U.S. Treasury as “capital investments in public facilities to meet pandemic operational needs.”
“There’s projects in all those areas that are possible,” Overfield said.
Roads and bridge work can also take place, but Overfield said only equivalent funds to the amount of money the county and municipalities lost in 2020 revenue can be devoted to this cause.
This total would be roughly $2.3 million for the county alone, assuming COVID-19 grant money can be subtracted from the revenue total.
Overfield said they don’t have to spend all of the money they receive from the federal government.
She said they will not request the physical funds from the government until all projects are finalized. This does not need to take place until 2024, with project funding needing to be used by 2026. The county will report their projects to the federal government, while the municipalities will report to the State of Wyoming.
Park County is scheduled to receive $5.67 million, the City of Cody $1.49 million, Powell $943,000 and Meeteetse $50,000 through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. Wyoming as a whole will receive $1.06 billion.
“For us to be able to do a significant project if they free up money, that’d be a win for citizens,” Hall said.
Overfield said there will be more joint meetings like this in the future, but no dates are finalized at this time.
(Zac Taylor contributed to this report)