Government, Latest News, Monongalia County

Mon Commission announces recipients of $5 million in ARPA allocations

MORGANTOWN — A $3.1 million allocation to fund Mon Power electrical upgrades to the Morgantown Industrial Park is among a series of projects that will receive American Rescue Plan Act dollars from the Monongalia County Commission.

The commission announced the recipients of just over $5 million in ARPA dollars on Wednesday.

While Commissioner Sean Sikora didn’t use the name Mountaintop Beverage, he explained the electrical upgrades are needed to make that manufacturing facility a reality.

The county previously allocated just over $3.4 million in ARPA dollars to fund sanitary sewer upgrades by the Morgantown Utility Board into the expanded portion of the industrial park, primarily in service to this project.

The Mountaintop Beverage facility is under construction and expected to begin production in November.

While the sanitary sewer upgrades for the industrial park fall in line with ARPA’s stated priorities of water, sewer and broadband projects, the electrical work does not, meaning the county used $3,104,600 of its $3,207,660 in revenue replacement dollars to fund the project.

Revenue replacement dollars can be used at the discretion of ARPA funding recipients, like cities and counties, while the remainder of their allocations are restricted to the more-narrow guidelines established by the U.S. Treasury.

The county also earmarked $30,000 from this more-discretionary ARPA money for a Mon River Tails Conservancy project to restore and upgrade drainage along a 1.5-mile section of rail-trail.

Of the projects announced Wednesday, $1,903,200 are water and sewer projects.

The largest of those is a previously disclosed $1 million allocation for a MUB project that will provide sewer improvements and stream restoration along Popenoe Run.  The city of Morgantown has also allocated $1 million in ARPA money for the project.

“That’s going to really lead to directly helping a lot of the flooding issues that we’ve seen over the last year in the Evansdale area. It’s a tributary that leads to that section, passes under the stadium and surfaces out and causes a lot of problems,” Commissioner Jeff Arnett said. “It’s not going to fix everything, but MUB has assured us it’s one of the root causes.”

The commission also provided $436,000 to the Clay-Battelle Public Service District in order to address six projects, including work involving Jakes Run and Days Run and improvements in the areas of Behlar and Range roads.

An additional $400,000 will go to the Little Creek Public Service District, which is located in Marion County, but serves primarily customers in Monongalia County. The funds will be used to upgrade a booster pump station along Smithtown Road.

The commission also approved $47,200 to fund water and sewer infrastructure for the new West Virginia Botanic Garden event center, and $20,000 to the Ministers Run Water Association for an exposed line and creek crossing off Peter Eddy Road.

“We really looked at projects that had the most impact long-term,” Sikora said. “The commission, from the beginning, said we really need to put these into projects that are going to repay themselves or eliminate further infrastructure costs for years to come. Some of these projects are going to pay for themselves … People may agree or disagree with individual projects, but we really spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was the best use for these dollars.”    

All told, the county is expected to receive just over $20.5 million in ARPA dollars. It’s expected that about half that amount will be utilized in the implementation of county-wide broadband.

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