Miami County eyes $1.3 million for labor study, development and loans

Colley explained that funding was freed up this year through the use of American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds for expenses directly related to COVID-19. In this case, general fund money was made available using ARPA funds to reimburse the Sheriff’s Department for salary time spent directly related to COVID activities.

The commission will be asked to hire Management Resources of Columbus to conduct the community-wide needs assessment.

Among the goals are to provide a broader perspective on the challenges faced by county residents, the county workforce, employers, real estate developers; more detailed details of housing needs; a vision to address housing needs and gaps; and suggestions for addressing other community challenges that may be identified. The process would include focus groups, interviews, surveys and a final report with recommendations, depending on the proposed agreement.

The consultants would work with the county’s workforce committee and with members of the private sector while carrying out their work, said Rich Osgood, county director of development.

Further work is underway on the 2023 elements of the project based on the needs identified in the assessment. Work is underway to develop the format for the revolving loan program.

The focus of the revolving loan program will be to help unincorporated areas of the county, but likely not exclusively, said Michael Clarey, the county’s deputy director of development.

“We haven’t compiled a full eligibility list yet,” he said. “These policies and strategies have yet to be formulated.”

When the county initially received ARPA funding that will total more than $20 million, the discussion included consideration of a revolving loan program among the use of that funding. However, due to ARPA’s “very prescriptive” guidelines for the use of program money, a new direction for funding a revolving loan program was taken, Clarey said.

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