The Town of Sahuarita will receive $10,493,989 in federal COVID-19 relief funding in two installments over the next two years.
The funding is part of the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus recovery fund signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year. Within it, $350 billion was earmarked to go to state, local, tribal and territorial governments to help with economic recovery.
Sahuarita is considered a “non-entitlement unit,” or a government serving populations under 50,000, and $19.5 billion was allocated to for entities in this category.
“Our FY 2022 budget was put together before receiving the notification of the award, so based on preliminary information we conservatively estimated and budgeted for receiving $3.75 million in 2022 (and planned for another $3.75 million in 2023),” said Sahuarita spokesman Mark Febbo. “So receiving almost $3 million more than expected is a pleasant surprise.”
The funds can be used to support public health expenditures, replace lost public sector revenue, infrastructure investments, provide premium pay for employees and address negative economic impacts.
Febbo said the town has identified three sewer projects for some of the funding. Each was already in the town’s approved budget.
There is a sewer line extension project at Anamax Park to lay basic infrastructure for a splash pad and other improvements.
They will also use some of the funds for the Water Reclamation Lab to bring it up to ADA requirements and other maintenance.
The Water Reclamation Facility is also getting upgrades to increase capacity to meet growth projections.
Febbo said the Anamax Sewer Line Extension project was part of the town’s five-year capital improvement projects and will be completed sooner thanks to the money.
“It would have tentatively been done sometime in the next five years, whereas, now it will be done this year,” he said. “This project will lay down crucial infrastructure that could be used at some point for a splash pad at Anamax in addition to new, additional restrooms, a modular office and expansion of the rec center.”
Pima County will receive $203,421,668 over two years. The county received a first installment of $101,710,834 in May and will get the rest of the funds in May. A county spokesman said plans on how the money will be used are still being developed.