JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Hinds County Administrator Kenneth Wayne Jones said the county did not apply for the most recent round of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
In this rounds, cities and counties were eligible for a one-to-one or a two-to-one funding match. According to Jones, sitting out this round could bring more money into Hinds County.
While Jackson anticipates to receive more than $71 million in matching ARPA funds by the end of the year, Hinds County won’t be seeing any new funds.
Their decision not to apply for this round was based on a point scale the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) applies to counties receiving funds. The more points you have, the more funding you could receive.
According to Hinds County, their score was not high enough to justify applying for this round.
“It gives us an opportunity to go back, look at some of the other things that we probably didn’t put in, because this application is going to be based on the scoring process by MDEQ. So, we looked at it and saw some of the things that may have been 18 points and with what we had, we could only get three,” said Jones. “So, it’ll be more allocated in the next round so you know, we’re not missing anything.”
The strategy is contingent on Hinds County making the necessary repairs with the $45 million in ARPA funds they have already received and then apply for more.
“So we said look, ‘Let’s go for the second round to give us time to get more completion and get more points so we can get more money,'” Jones stated.
While most of these funds will go towards improving water infrastructure and public safety, Hinds County employees still have to get paid to do these jobs.
The Hinds County Board of Supervisors denied a pay raise for Public Works employees on Monday.
While this strategy in contingent on many repairs being made, Jones believe it’s the right strategy.