Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Minnesota Valley Action Council

will receive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funds.

John Woodwick, Executive Director of MVAC has shared the following. The agency has received an allocation of $554,232. These funds must be spent by September 20, 2010. The money becomes available June 15, 2009 and the plan was submitted on May 15, 2009.

The strong emphasis for the use of the funds is in JOB CREATION. The funds may not be used for capital improvements (bricks and mortar). This dollar amount represents 76% of the MVAC regular Community Services Block Grant amount ($726,342) @ 30 months. The ARRA must be expended in 50% of that time or 15 months.

The strategy for the funds is to create a “life” beyond the end of September 20, 2010. The strategies should last from six years to 35 years. There will be 18 jobs created; 50 training for employment opportunities; 37 additional people provided with vehicles; 15 people will be able to lease new cars; and 100 people will have emergency needs funded.

Some money will be used to establish another thrift store which will be located in New Ulm. They will use some of the money to purchase a truck and a trailer. This will allow the agency pick up cars donated to the Wheel Get There Program. This equipment will be used to move items coming and going to the thrift stores. The agency will be obtaining their own baler to bale up clothing not sold. Unusable baled clothing can be sold to the secondary market.

Woodwick said that the agency will be expected to spend $8 million by September 2110. To put it in perspective, the regular budget for the agency is $18 million. Woodwick said, “we have our work cut out for us”. The agency will be working with more dollars than they have ever had in the past and they will still get their regular funding.

My committee, the Community Services committee approved contracts totaling $1,931,000 for Workforce Investment Act programs. These are training programs for adults who have lost their jobs or do not have jobs.

The need to help people is large. There was an increase in phone contacts of 1,731 from April of 2009 over April of 2008. end

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