AARPA Projects Under Consideration
Williamson County ARPA Projects under consideration.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNDECD) is sharing state ARPA funds and state appropriated funds to support expansion of broadband services into those unserved areas and underserved areas in the state. The broadband providers applied this spring (2022) for grants from TNDECD. The grant awards are expected to be announced sometime in June, 2022. The county is supporting all three providers that applied for grants. We have committed county ARPA funds to two of the providers if either or both of them are successful in receiving a grant. We may provide ARPA funds to other providers if they are successful in being awarded a grant from TNDECD for broadband in Williamson County.
If the grants requests are not received from TNDECD, we will work with the providers to find alternate funding for the expansion of broadband in the county.
Water and wastewater Projects
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is sharing some of the ARPA funds received by the state with local governments. Williamson County has an allocation of five million, six hundred thousand dollars ($5,600,000) which may be accessed via approved grants from TDEC. Local utility districts may apply for these grants by partnering with the county or a city receiving the TDEC/ARPA grants.
Williamson County is working with various utilities in the county to apply for the grants in order for residents of the county to receive the benefits of the $5.6M allocation. Some local ARPA funds may be required for a match. The collaborative grants from the county and utility districts will be submitted by the end of June, 2022. Williamson County has contracted with SSR, Inc., an engineering firm, to assist the county with the review and prioritization of the grant requests received.
These grants are expected to be awarded in the third and fourth quarters of 2022.
Solid Waste and Recycling
The pandemic caused an increase in the amount of trash and recyclables that were taken to the county convenience centers and solid waste facility. More adults working from home and children having remote school increase more residential trash. The great surge in purchasing on-line created more cardboard and plastic to be recycled. The county solid waste team worked to keep the trash and recycling bins available for everyone. In learning from the pandemic about the “new normal”, the solid waste department needs more recycling bins and another vehicle to keep up with the demand. The extra bins and other equipment may exceed two million dollars ($2,000,000).
Low-income and workforce housing is an issue that needs to be addressed not only in Williamson County but nationwide. ARPA funds may be spend on improving the availability of low-income and workforce housing. The county is working with the City of Franklin and the Franklin Housing Authority to help fund options to increase this needed increase in housing options. The county is reviewing how to participate in “The Hill” project with Franklin and FHA. Currently one million ($1,000,000) of ARPA funds are reserved for this type of project.
Improving air quality and energy efficiency in county facilities
Better air quality may reduce the transmission rate of Covid-19 and other air-borne germs. Better air quality can improve the efficiency of the workers in a space and the comfort of the visitors/users of the space. The county has many facilities where citizens are active all day, almost every day. Recreation centers, libraries, the animal shelter and the various offices in the county such as the courthouses and administrative center.
With utility costs rising with almost everything else, a more efficient heating and cooling system and better, more efficient lighting in our county facilities can help reduce the cost of keeping our county buildings open and operating.
The county is working with Schneider to find ways to improve air quality and to find improvements to save energy costs. The expenses to improve air quality qualify for ARPA funding.