AUBURN — The Androscoggin County Commission learned Wednesday the final guidelines for what officially constitutes an obligation under the American Rescue Plan Act funds.

All ARPA funds must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024, and spent by Dec. 31, 2026.

Sometimes referred to as the COVID-19 stimulus package, ARPA was passed by Congress in 2021 to provide economic assistance and fund recovery efforts caused by the pandemic. Androscoggin County received approximately $21 million.

According to Zeb Letourneau, an analyst for Berry Dunn, a national accounting firm assisting the county in its administration of the funds, the county has allocated more than $13 million in funding, but not all of that has been obligated, according to the updated guidelines.

An obligation, according to the treasury, defines obligation as a signed contract for goods and services.

Hundreds of agencies across the country have asked the government for clarification on what exactly an obligation was, Letourneau said.


Funding for outside agencies, such as Trinity Jubilee, all have signed contracts and have already met the requirements for the 2024 deadline. Letourneau indicated there are several in-house projects that do not yet have contracts.

Commissioners are expected to receive an update on the actual projects at their next meeting on Dec. 20.

Any funds not officially obligated by Dec. 31, 2024, must be returned to the federal government.

In other business, commissioners signed off on a few ARPA projects. The board approved purchasing a vehicle for the Emergency Management Agency. The 2024 GMC Sierra 2500HD will cost the county $56,398, which was below the budgeted amount of $60,000.

Approving the building of a new Androscoggin County website, commissioners selected the plan by CivicPlus, which submitted the low bid of $28,600.15 to build and host the site for the first year. The cost of hosting for the second year was quoted at $12,733.15. CivicPlus’ headquarters are located in Kansas.

Some of the bids to design and host the new site came in at more than twice the amount from CivicPlus. The county had budgeted $30,000 for the project.

The new website will provide each county department with its own landing page.

Commissioners also approved $75,000 in ARPA funds for the contracted services that will be provided by the architecture and design firm Harriman, located in Auburn. Harriman is developing the new public safety building at 774 Center St., the future home of the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department.  The total cost is $109,665. The remaining $35,000 for design work is in the county budget.

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