Woodfin – An estimated $2.14 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to the Town of Woodfin, half of which was already received, are all being spent. The Woodfin Board of Commissioners passed a budget ordinance directing where the money would be allocated at their August meeting (see article page 2).
The funds can only be spent for specific items. Woodfin Financial Director Sheri Powers said that new information about what items the money can be spent on are released every week. She also said that line items found in the budget all meet the directives coming out.
“The first step in being able to spend any of that money is to adopt a budget ordinance, establishing a budget for the grant,” Powers told the board.
The first item on the list is $35,000 for Woodfin Police Policy Updates. However, no details were given about these updates. Next was $10,000 for a “Victory Garden” for the Woodfin Elementary School.
Commissioner Jackie Bryson asked about this item, to which Town Administrator Eric Hardy said, “That was an idea that came from one of you all [commissioners] actually to support the local schools…and assist them with gardens.”
No one claimed the idea and Powers asked if there were any other questions.
Mayor Jerry VeHaun asked if the budget could be changed, “if we needed.” Powers said, “Yes sir…any of the line items that need to priority ship or any guidance that come out with more expansive on how you can spend money…we can update this at any time. The board passed the budget.”
Stormwater eats up the majority of the budget
One item is receiving more than half of the funds. Nearly $1.2 million is allocated to stormwater in some form. After stormwater, there is Park Infrastructure at $151,600, Plan Development at $10,000, Stormwater Plan Enforcement at $50,000 and Stormwater General Infrastructure $937,503.73. If you include the 25 percent that the project manager will be working on stormwater plans, that is about 21,600 of the manager’s $86,587 in annual salary.
Housing relief not part of budget, but…
While none of the $2.14 million was allocated to housing relief, one of the specific uses allowed for the ARP funds. Hardy did say that the town of Woodfin was participating in the Buncombe County Housing Relief Program, which allows households at or below 80 percent of median income to have things like property taxes, mortgages, housing costs or insurance paid out of the fund. No cash payments will be made to the individual.
Other spending on the list include:
$75,000 for comprehensive plan contract and staff report, $200,000 for broadband wi-fi in all public parks, $130,000 for
town hall sign and air quality/handling, $280,000 for Silver-Line Park cofferdam and $175,000 for trash roll out cart.