Lee County earmarks $6.6 million in federal relief funds

Board creates small business program for those negatively impacted by COVID-19

DIXON – The Lee County Board has carved out a plan on how to split up $6.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

The county has spent about $1 million so far of the COVID-19 relief funds.

That includes $250,000 for social service organizations, almost $200,000 for new election equipment, $157,000 for boardroom technology upgrades, $120,000 in health department permit fees for businesses negatively affected by COVID-19, $100,000 for expanding the agriculture program at Sauk Valley Community College, $25,000 for the regional office of education, $22,000 for Lee County Tourism, $44,000 in administrative fees and $10,000 to The Next Picture Show art gallery.

The Lee County ARPA Committee recently hashed out allocating the remaining $5.5 million, with $1 million in reserves for both 2023 and 2024, $1.5 million for capital projects, $500,000 for a small business program, and $500,000 toward business and economic development, County Administrator Wendy Ryerson said.

The remaining $1.1 million would be used for existing requests from the county and community for the funds as well as administrative costs.

The small business program, which launched earlier this month, allows businesses with 25 or fewer employees to receive up to $20,000 in aid. The businesses must fall under industries highly affected by COVID-19 such as tourism, hotel/motel industry, child care, restaurant, bar, tavern, event venue, performing arts, music or movie/theater venue, indoor recreation, health and fitness center and retail.

Applications will be open until June 30 and can be found at

The $1.5 million set aside for capital projects will be at the discretion of the county’s finance committee, but all requests will go to the County Board for a vote.

The board also is discussing putting funds toward deferred maintenance projects including problems with the HVAC and boiler systems and failing elevators at the Lee County Courts Building.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.