American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
Gaston County was awarded $43,612,126 in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (Recovery Funding), as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. This infusion of federal resources is intended to help turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery. These funds may be used for the following categories of expenditures, to the extent authorized by state law.
- Support public health expenditures, by funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff
- Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including economic harms to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector.
- Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic
- Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have borne and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors.
- Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and storm water infrastructure, and to expand access to broadband internet.
Gaston County is committed to investing these funds in projects that align to county strategic plan and community priorities, support equitable outcomes for most impacted populations, leverage and align with other governmental funding sources, make best use of this one-time infusion of resources, and have a lasting impact.
Compliance and Timeline
Gaston County takes great care to be a responsible steward of public resources, including these Recovery Funds. The County is responsible for ensuring there is no fraud, waste, or abuse. It is vital that robust documentation and compliance processes are in place, and that management of funds is both transparent and accountable. Equitable delivery of benefits and services is of primary importance to both the US Treasury and in the guidelines of the American Rescue Plan Act. The following timeline notes important dates for use of the Recovery Funds:
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Current Board-Approved Projects
The Gaston County Board of Commissioners have approved the following uses and amounts of the County's Recovery Funding. This list will be updated as needed to reflect new Board-approved uses.
Dallas/High Shoals Sewer
This project consists of two new sewer pump stations and the associated force mains to connect those pump stations to the City of Gastonia' s sewer outfall. High Shoals currently owns a sewer collection system that serves part of the area inside the city limits and discharges wastewater to an outfall owned by the City of Gastonia. One of the pump stations will be located near the northwest quadrant of the Hardin Rd/ US321 interchange. The other pump station will be located near the Dallas High Shoals Hwy / Miles Road intersection. High Shoals currently has less than 300 sewer customers 1; and the new customers will improve their ability to provide a high quality and responsible level of service to their residents. In total, approximately 15, 500 feet of 10" force main will be constructed to connect the two pump stations to an existing sewer outfall owned by the City of Gastonia.
Dallas/High Shoals Interconnection
This project will construct the infrastructure necessary to provide water service between the Town of Dallas and the City of High Shoals. The current water supply for the City of High Shoals is provided through a bulk purchase with Lincoln County. This purchase contract allowed for the purchase of up to 100,000 gal/day and the contract expired in 2020. The community between the limits of the Town of Dallas and the City of High Shoals is currently served by groundwater wells or community well systems. The best solution to resolve the water supply challenge for High Shoals and to provide water service to the Hardin Road area, is to construct an interconnection between the Town of Dallas and the City of High Shoals. An interconnection between Dallas and High Shoals will allow High Shoals to purchase their water inside Gaston County and avoid paying outside rates to Lincoln County.
Courthouse Video Arraignment
Funds will be used to update the current video arraignment system and expand the use of video arraignment into three additional courtrooms. New, industry-standard equipment will be installed to create a more reliable system. Judicial staff need the video arraignment system available in more courtrooms to reduce in-custody transportation for brief arraignments, to improve administrative efficiency to streamline court operations. This will support social distancing and keep lawyers, court officers, clerks, inmates, and their families safe from future COVID variants. Having this technology in place allows continuity of operations regardless of a pandemic and any variants that may emerge in the future.
Family Justice Center Transitional Housing
The Hope United Survivor Network exists to provide real-time assistance to individuals who are impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, elder abuse, and victims of childhood sexual assault. The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted survivors. Many experienced reduced financial resources and increased stress as a direct result of the pandemic. These funds will be used to provide transitional housing for FY2022-2023 at the cost of $150,000 per year. Transitional housing will provide a safe place for individuals to stay for a short period of time.
North Belmont Park Waterline Extension
The current appropriation of $300K funds the design phase of this project. Additional ARPA funding will also be appropriated to install a new waterline that services the community around North Belmont Park, west of Mt. Holly. The Drinking water well at North Belmont Park has been replaced due to low flow and water quality. Additionally, water is not available for irrigation of the playing fields that have had increased usage since the pandemic. Not only will this project provide a much needed, reliable source of safe clean drinking water to the park and surrounding community, but it will also aide in fire protection in the community.
Lowell Elementary Waterline Extension:
The current appropriation of $22,940 funds the design phase of this project. Additional ARPA funding will also be appropriated to install a new waterline to serve the Lowell Elementary School. This waterline will provide water from Lowell to the school and eliminate its dependence on water from McAdenville. The new waterline will replace an older 2-inch waterline on the school premises, which is no longer proficient to meet the needs of the school. It will also install 1,500 feet of new waterline to the school premises. This waterline will provide Lowell Elementary with reliable clean water and appropriate water-flow from Lowell directly.
Chapel Grove Elementary Waterline Extension
The current appropriation of $472K funds the design phase of this project. Additional ARPA funding will also be appropriated to install new infrastructure of approximately 10,000 feet of 12-inch waterline along Chapel Grove Road, from Chapel Grove Elementary School to Linwood Road. It will serve the health and water needs of the community, which is currently served by groundwater wells or community well systems. This new waterline will tie into Two Rivers Utilities’ existing system at Linwood Road. Past droughts have caused drinking water shortages and pressure issues. The Chapel Grove Waterline Extension project will eliminate those issues. This waterline will also eliminate water stoppage that could take place in a power outage, thereby avoiding disruptions in service. The Chapel Grove Waterline Extension will provide reliable clean water to the Chapel Grove Community.
Tryon Elementary Waterline Extension
The current appropriation of $500K funds the design phase of this project. Additional ARPA funding will also be appropriated to install a new waterline to serve the Tryon Community, Tryon Elementary School, and Tryon Park and Recycling Center. The current area is served by groundwater wells or community well systems. Past droughts and industrial activities caused a shortage of drinking water and wells running dry. The Tryon Elementary School built water storage vessels on their property and transports water in from other locations to address the threat of a drinking water shortage. Currently, a power outage could stop water from being pumped and cause a disruption in the availability of clean drinking water. This waterline will help eliminate these issues and provide reliable clean drinking water for the area.
This presentation contains information that was shared during the public meeting held on September 19, 2023. The County appreciates all those that were able to attend and share feedback for the project. We intend to provide additional updates as the project progresses. In the meantime, we are actively working to incorporate suggestions received in order to accomplish the best possible outcome for the Chapel Grove community