Beaufort County has taken the lead to assemble a task force of community stakeholders to discuss and prioritize projects to maximize the dollars available to Beaufort County residents. Beaufort County's task force will focus on improvements to Beaufort County by utilizing the funding provided with the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). These non-recurring dollars delivered by the Federal government to over 19,000 local governments will represent $350 billion of the $1.9 trillion package.
Each municipality and Beaufort County will receive a disbursement.
Task force members include representatives from Beaufort County Government, the municipalities of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Port Royal, Beaufort and Yemassee, Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District, Bluffton Fire District, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Beaufort County School District, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, University of South Carolina – Beaufort, Technical College of the Lowcountry, Lowcountry Regional Transit Authority and Beaufort Jasper Water & Sewer Authority.
The task force has met several times to discuss regional project priorities that involve multiple stakeholders and the resulting improvement to the quality of life for County residents.
Federal funding specifications have narrowed project areas to include COVID-19 economic impacts, assistance to those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic, economic recovery, infrastructure, broadband, and premium pay for First Responders.
“The passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 represents a once-in-our-lifetime opportunity to accomplish major projects around Beaufort County,” said Eric Greenway, Interim County Administrator. “I’m excited to work with the task force to develop the project list and implement those projects after Beaufort County Council and Municipal Councils have had an opportunity to review and approve the projects. All Beaufort County residents will be able to see the results and hard work of this task force over the next 24 months. We are poised to make a serious impact on improving the quality of life for all citizens.”
Jared Fralix, Assistant County Administrator for Engineering, was appointed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Task Force Chair. His experience bringing large projects from drawing board to implementation, working with stakeholders, and prioritizing large scale projects, lends to coordinating task force members, setting benchmarks and meeting goals successfully.
“I’m honored to be leading a task force of accomplished professionals representing the interests of Beaufort County, our municipalities, education partners and healthcare institutions. Conversations have been meaningful and County residents should have the highest confidence that all levels of government are investing their time and talent to ensure ARPA dollars have lasting impact for the people of Beaufort County.”
“I’m thrilled we have established this task force to organize and plan for the $37 million Beaufort County will receive through the Rescue Plan,” said Chairman Joe Passiment. “Thanks to the leadership of Interim County Administrator Eric Greenway and Task Force Chair Jared Fralix, Beaufort County’s fast response to forming the task force, assembling the list of potential projects that fit the guidelines, and building a strong partnership among the stakeholders should create a feeling a confidence in County taxpayers that the federal money coming in—taxpayer money—will be distributed appropriately and spent effectively and efficiently. Communication is paramount and this task force is setting the standard for all South Carolina counties.”
Creating the task force and having all stakeholders work together represents an organized, cohesive, close-knit group of government representatives who will speak with one voice sharing County and municipal priorities. Clear communication with focused goals ensures credibility and confidence both with the elected officials but also with County residents.
As the project list evolves and priorities are discussed and established, all information will be posted online. When the webpage goes live, it will also include a complete list of task force members, video interviews, project status updates, task force meeting minutes and related formal communication and documentation.
Beaufort County recently received the first payment of $18,658,723 on Thursday, May 19. The second installment will be approximately the same amount. Per Federal guidelines, all funds will need to be spent by 2024.