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May 27, 2021

Skagit County Commissioners approve first round of American Rescue Plan Act spending; release guiding principles document for feedback 

The Skagit County Board of Commissioners has approved its first round of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) spending focused on supporting the ongoing pandemic response and key community health needs. The spending will total $2.6 million. The approved spending includes:

  • Launch of the Skagit County Medical Reserve Corps to assist with ongoing pandemic response and vaccination efforts.
  • Funding to allow Skagit County Public Health to purchase a van for additional testing, vaccination and future Communicable Disease response needs.
  • The hiring of a community health worker (promotor/a) to provide outreach and education on behavioral health issues.
  • Provision of mobile mental health services and motel vouchers for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Addressing the behavioral health needs of children and adolescents by embedding additional social workers and clinical services in schools.
  • Education supports to address educational disparities exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Senior outreach services to overcome isolation and other negative health impacts of the pandemic.
  • Continued funding for the COVID-19 family resource center to promote healthy childhood environments and access to basic needs for families impacted by the pandemic.

 “ARPA has allowed us to tackle some critical priorities quickly and more completely than we would have otherwise,” said Commissioner Lisa Janicki, who currently serves as Chair of the Board of Commissioners. “Supporting Public Health in ongoing pandemic response is the top priority, and I’m happy we were able to move forward with these expenditures."

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has set the majority of the legal guidelines for spending ARPA, which can be found here.  The Skagit County Commissioners have also set draft guidance principles and spending priorities for ARPA spending, which you can read here.

The Commissioners are taking feedback on the principles and spending priorities through July 1, 2021. Please submit comments by emailing commissioners@co.skagit.wa.us (ATTN: ARPA Spending) or by calling 360-416-1300.

Simultaneously, the Skagit County Commissioners have supported efforts by the Population Health Trust (PHT) and the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC) to do assessments of community needs related to COVID-19 recovery. The Population Health Trust will focus on social determinants of health, and long term health needs that were created or exacerbated by the pandemic through the Community Health Assessment (CHA) process. EDASC will focus on business and economic recovery. These processes will inform Commissioner decision-making on the allocation of ARPA funds. For information on how to participate in these processes, email kayla@co.skagit.wa.us 

“This is a significant one-time investment we get to make in County services, partner programs and staffing that can help us recover faster and set us up for future crises better,” said Commissioner Ron Wesen. “Spending these ARPA funds will be a thoughtful and ongoing process, but I’m glad we could take care of these critical Public Health needs.”

Commissioner Peter Browning said, “As someone who spent the majority of my career in Public Health, I can’t stress enough how vital these services are. This last year, we have been shown how important community behavioral health supports and communicable disease response efforts are. I look forward to community feedback on our priorities, and recommendations from EDASC and PHT on how ARPA can do the most good in our community.”  

ARPA was approved by Congress in early 2021. Skagit County will receive approximately $25 million in direct funding. For more and future information on Skagit County’s ARPA goals and priorities visit our website. If you have questions or need additional information, call 360-416-1300 or email commissioners@co.skagit.wa.us.