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Longboat plans flooding projects with final ARPA funding

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The final $1.8 million given to the town will go toward floodwater projects in Buttonwood and Sleepy Lagoon neighborhoods.

Longboat Key received the second half of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds Aug. 15, which the Town Commission officially adopted into the town’s budget last week.

ARPA was signed into law March 11, 2021, providing $350 billion to state and local governments. The town was awarded $3,654,228 and received the first half of the funds in September 2021.

The town is only allowed to use the funding on eligible projects, which fall into four categories.

  1. Government services to the extent of lost public sector revenue
  2. Public health and negative economic impacts
  3. Premium pay for essential workers
  4. Improvements in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure

Based on guidance from town auditors, the commission amended the ARPA Special Revenue Fund in March, transferring the first half to the general fund. The second half of the relief funds go directly into the general fund, increasing the unappropriated fund balance by over $3.6 million.

At a recent commission meeting, Town Manager Tom Harmer reminded the six commissioners present about the funding and how they previously decided to allocate it.

During the November 2021 commission retreat, commissioners opted to use funding to aid in improving two long-term issues: the underwater sewer line from the island to the mainland, along with sea level rise and stormwater management control projects.

“Now that we have received this final payment, it is placed based on what commission direction previously was,” Harmer said.

For the sewer line project, the first half of the funding was moved into the wastewater capital fund to cover the project.

Last week's commission approval moved the remaining ARPA funding to the streets fund for stormwater management control projects, which include the sea level rise study, Buttonwood Harbor neighborhood and Sleepy Lagoon neighborhood studies.