Jackson County COVID relief breakdown: Where is the money going?

Katelyn Waltemyer
Jackson Newspapers
Pile of $100 bills.

Jackson County has received $3.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding since the act was signed into law in March 2021, and municipalities have begun allocating the funds. 

The act is spewing $195.3 billion into states and the District of Columbia to help counteract the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Local governments across West Virginia will see $2 billion in federal funds by the end of 2022. Here's how Jackson County municipalities have spent their COVID relief money so far. 

Ripley 

The city of Ripley is putting all of its eggs in one basket by spending its federal funds on the Viking Lane stormwater project. 

So far Ripley has gotten $698,198.44 in federal funds. 

Viking Lane, which sits next to Ripley High School, has been experiencing stormwater issues for decades, Ripley City Clerk Tom Armstead said in an email. 

"But now the pipe has collapsed in places and after surveying the line with cameras the whole line from Mill Creek to Ripley Elementary has corroded and is disintegrating, prompting an entire line replacement," Armstead said. 

Jackson County 

Dick Waybright, president of the county commission, said that Jackson has already divvied up thousands of its $2.7 million of ARPA funds. 

The Southern Jackson Public Service Department is receiving $380,000 for its water expansion project. Roughly $150,000 will go toward upgrading the courthouse's fiber optic cables. 

According to an email from Waybright, an "undetermined small amount" of ARPA money will be allotted for sign-on bonuses for new deputies. 

Once those expenses are paid, the county will have a remaining balance of $2 million. The county commission, which meets every Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., is receiving other requests to spend money. 

Ravenswood 

The city of Ravenswood has received $803,940.66 in ARPA money. So far, the city has only made emergency purchases, Mayor Josh Miller said in an email. The purchases included a lift station near Riverfront Park and the sewer lagoons, which totaled $5,475. 

Miller said Ravenswood is approaching the final stages of its planning process for the federal funds. The rest of the city's funds will go toward water and sewer projects. 

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— Katelyn Waltemyer (she/her) is the General Assignment and Enterprise Reporter for Jackson Newspapers in Jackson County, West Virginia. Have a news tip on local government or education? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at kwaltemyer@jacksonnewspapers.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.