La Salle County Board approves more than $2.7 million in ARPA funds

County still has $6.6 million in less restrictive COVID relief funds to distribute

La Salle County Governmental Complex

The La Salle County Board approved more than $2.7 million in American Rescue Plan applications during a special meeting Friday.

Over the course of a nearly four-hour meeting, the board approved 19 applications ranging from $10,000 to $1 million, dissecting each application in an open session of the board.

Lighted Way of the Illinois Valley, is renovating the former Heritage Health Nursing Home along Airport Road on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022 in La Salle. The Lighted Way school is scheduled to move into the facility in August 2023.

The largest application approvals were made to Lighted Way in La Salle for $1 million, Community Food Basket in Ottawa for $500,000, Ottawa YMCA for $400,000 and North Central Area Transit for $265,650.

County Board Chairman Don Jensen (R-Deer Park) started Friday’s meeting telling board members La Salle County had $3.2 million remaining in American Rescue Plan relief funds and he wanted to get applications approved to distribute the funds. The county has another $6.6 million remaining in COVID-19 relief funds that is less restrictive to spend, and also can cover any of the ARPA fund requests.

Jensen suggested amounts for each application totaling $2.6 million across the 24 applications, inviting the County Board to make amendments and vote if they didn’t agree with the suggestion.

Doug Trager (D-Ottawa) said the Finance Committee had already made recommendations for what each application should receive, after going through them with a vetting process. Several of the recommended amounts were modified by Jensen, because Jensen told the County Board he has observed the County Board has not been paying attention to what the Finance Committee has suggested.

Trager said he had a problem with Jensen taking that initiative.

With seemingly each request, the board asked how much the applicant was requesting, how they intended to spend the money (the receiving agencies will have to show receipts through the process to prove spending) and how much was recommended.

Mendota water tower

The board agreed to give at least some relief funds to each application voted on Friday, including a $150,000 for the city of Mendota for Mendota Lake improvements. The County Board previously denied Mendota’s request for $200,000.

The board tabled an amendment to disperse $1 million to Streator Unlimited, because it did not have enough ARPA funds remaining as of the end of the meeting Friday. The board will need to disperse some of the money from ARPA funds, and the remaining total from less restrictive relief funds if it wishes to award Streator Unlimited $1 million. The board also passed on voting on Ottawa Fire, Mendota Fire and Utica Fire requests and Mutual Aid Box Alarm System-LUCAS devices until a later meeting.

Chem Dry was approved for $10,000, Monte’s (Lefort) for $10,000, the Wedron Office for $10,000, Pitstick Pavilion for $10,000, Starved Rock Coffee Company for $10,000, Mendota Chamber of Commerce for $50,000, Mendota Area Senior Services for $75,000, University of Illinois Extension for $14,500, Streatorland Food Pantry for $10,000, Seneca Food Pantry for $10,000, Norway United Methodist Church for $10,000, $95,000 to Illinois Valley Public Action to Deliver Shelter (the county’s homeless shelters in Ottawa and Peru) and Illinois Valley Animal Rescue for $100,400.