From public health to ‘premium pay’: Where federal pandemic relief funds are going in WNC

From public health to 'premium pay': Where federal pandemic relief funds are going in WNC

Every town or county has four buckets to place their ARPA funding into, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury: premium pay, public health/economic recovery initiatives, infrastructure improvements and revenue loss. 

The “revenue loss” category makes it difficult to fully understand where ARPA funds are being spent in Western North Carolina, so Carolina Public Press compiled Treasury data and categorized all projects — even those technically funded through claiming revenue loss — according to Treasury’s main buckets.

Is this where ARPA relief should be spent?

Here’s a breakdown of all projects — both those funded directly through ARPA and through claiming revenue loss — reported to the federal Treasury Department as of July 2022:

  • Public Health/Economic Recovery: $14,227,702
    • Includes vaccination clinics, nonprofit funding, hospital enhancements, public education and financial assistance programs in Buncombe, Burke, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Polk and Transylvania counties.
  • Premium pay, staff salaries and administrative costs: $36,839,882
    • Includes county worker salaries, bonuses for essential workers and vaccine incentive payments in Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain and Yancey counties. 
  • Infrastructure and broadband: $6,965,068
    • Includes water/sewer improvements, road enhancements and matches for state broadband expansion grants in Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Haywood, Madison, McDowell, Transylvania and Yancey counties. 
  • Unspecified: $22,517,963
    • Includes amounts claimed as revenue loss by Jackson, Rutherford and Transylvania counties. No specific projects were listed in Treasury data.
  • Total allocated as of July 2022: $80,550,615
  • Funds remaining: $96,983,169

Shelby Harris a Carolina Public Press staff writer, based in Asheville. Email her at [email protected] to contact her.

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