Community Engagement, Shared Priorities, Strategic Planning

We want to hear from you at a listening session

County Administrator's Office

Lisette Carrithers

Grant Manager

97 Hammond St.

Bangor, ME 04401

The commissioner’s meeting is held every Tuesday at 9:00 am. If you would like an opportunity to provide public comment during our public comment session, please email: no later than 8:15 a.m. EST the day of the meeting, and a Zoom invite will be provided and your name will be added to the agenda for public comment.

For more information please see the links below

American Rescue Plan Act and Penobscot County

What is the American Rescue Plan Act?

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was enacted by Congress and signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021. It provides $350 Billion dollars in funding to states, counties, cities, towns, and tribal governments. This is a once in a generation lifeline to recover from the effects of the pandemic. The uses of the funds are broad but also specific.

How does ARPA help Penobscot County?

Penobscot County was awarded $29.5 Million to be paid in two tranches. The first payment of approximately $14.75 million was disbursed in May of 2021 with the second payment expected one year later. The City of Bangor received $20 million dollars directly with the other towns of Penobscot County receiving money based on their population through the state. You can find your town's allocation here. Working within the rules for the use of these funds, Penobscot County has the ability to recover from the hardships of the pandemic and move ahead to a more vibrant future.

How can the ARPA funds be used?

Support a public health response Replace public sector revenue loss Address negative economic impacts Hazard pay for essential workers Infrastructure with regard to sewer, water, and broadband For more information you can download the Treasury Department FAQ sheet here

What can't the funds be used for?

Neither Penobscot County nor any of its subrecipients may use these funds to reduce the net tax revenue or make extraordinary payments to pension funds. The funds may not be used for some types of matching funds, or be paid into a "rainy day" fund. The funds can also not be used for debt service or satisfy legal settlements. For more information you can download the Treasury Department FAQ sheet here.

What is the current timeline for the ARPA funds?

Penobscot County received its first allotment of funds in May of 2021. It will receive the second half of its total funding in May of 2022 or later. All funds must be committed by December 31, 2024 and be spent by December 31, 2026. We are hoping to start Community Engagement Sessions in January of 2022. As we develop our grant application process this time line will be updated.

How can my organization apply for funding?

We are still developing our funding process so we are not accepting applications at this time. Please watch this space for updates. We did want to give you an idea of what the process would be like once we get started. Because we are distributing federal funds there is certain information we would need to collect in a pre-application. The pre-application will collect basic information about your organization as well as any grants you have received in the past. The County Administrator's office will review the pre-applications for eligibility and send full applications to those meeting the requirements for eligibilty. Submitted full applications will then be reviewed by the County Commissioners. Submission of a full application is not a guarantee of funding. We recognize that there are many worthy organizations but realistically there is no way to fund them all. The best chance to get funding is for specific Evidence-Based projects and not for operational funding.

What about Expanding or Upgrading Broadband?

While the ARPA funds may be used to expand or upgrade broadband in the county, it is not the only source of funds. The Capital Projects Fund is a source of funding. This is also a program of the Treasury, like ARPA but separate. More information can be found on the Treasury website. There are also earmarked funds for broadband in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was signed into law on November 15, 2021.

How will the listening sessions be structured?

These are not like a hearing with public comment. Our goal is to hear from as many people as we can. So these sessions are not structured like the Commissioner's meetings (though you can sign up to address that meeting on the home page). The agenda for the listening sessions is: Welcome, Purpose, and Overview (@ 5 mins) ARPA Funding Overview and Funding Category Survey (@15 mins) Community Input and Discussion (@1:15 mins) Set Priorities (@ 20 mins) Recap Findings and Share Next Steps (@ 5 mins) Times are approximate and depend on the number of people in attendance Questions to be discussed: What do you think makes Penobscot County and your town most special to you? What would you like to see change in Penobscot County in the next 5-10 years? -- What would you like the newspaper headline to be about our county in 5-10 years? -- What hopes do you have for Penobscot County in the future? What Issues/Needs in Penobscot County are you most concerned about? How would you like to see ARPA funds used to make Penobscot County be an even better place to live? -- What needs to happen to achieve your vision and get that newspaper headline?

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