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Cape County allocates ARPA funds to jail and EMA projects

Cape Girardeau County recently received its second half of COVID-19 relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) this month, with the county planning on using the funding on its jail expansion and new emergency management facility.

The county received $7,659,883.50 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury on June 10, which marked the second half of the county’s $15.3 million ARPA funds. The county received the first half of ARPA funding in May 2021.

The funding marks the second round of COVID-19 relief, following the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020. The county received $9.2 million in CARES Act funding, which was all allocated by the end of 2020.

On April 21, the county commission voted to use the U.S. Treasury’s standard allowance of up to $10 million of the ARPA funds for general government services. If the county did not use the standard allowance, it would have needed to calculate the county’s specific revenue loss due to COVID-19.

Cape Girardeau County Treasurer Roger Hudson said the $10 million could be used for any government services. Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said the county plans on using the $10 million of unrestricted ARPA funding to help pay for the expansion of the Cape Girardeau County Jail.

The county has not yet released the budget for the jail expansion and remodel of the historic Cape Girardeau Courthouse, but Tracy said the jail project is expected to cost more than the $10 million of ARPA funding. The remaining costs for the jail expansion and the entirety of the 1908 courthouse renovation will come out of the county’s capital improvements fund.

The county recently approved three design/build companies to submit proposals for the jail and historic courthouse projects, which are scheduled to be completed simultaneously to help lower costs. The county is expected to choose a design/build team by the end of September.

The county plans on using the remaining $5.3 million of ARPA funding, which has more restricted uses, on a new emergency management facility. The new facility will allow the county to store emergency equipment indoors and provide meeting space for local, state and federal agencies in the event of an emergency.

The county commission approved a $347,500 contract with Dille Pollard on June 30 to provide architecture and engineering work for the emergency management facility, marking the county’s first allocation of ARPA funds.

In total, ARPA allocated $362 billion to state and local governments. The State of Missouri received $5.48 billion of ARP funding, $1.19 billion of which went to local counties. $830 million was allocated to Missouri cities with a population of 50,000 or more, and $442 million was allocated to other local Missouri jurisdictions with populations less than 50,000.

The City of Jackson received $2.73 million and the City of Cape Girardeau received $7.47 million, both distributed through the State of Missouri. The City of Jackson has allocated some of its ARPA funds for a new eight-foot-wide sidewalk/trail on East Main Street and the Jackson Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels program.

Local government entities have until the end of 2024 to allocate ARPA funds and have until the end of 2026 to spend all of its ARPA funding.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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