Thursday, 19 August 2021 11:41

Saratoga County Receives $22.3 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds; Preps for COVID Testing Programs for Schools

By Thomas Dimopoulos | News

BALLSTON SPA — The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors held their full monthly meeting in Ballston Spa on Aug. 17, during which they read proclamations noting the upcoming 20th Anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, the efforts of area non-profit organization during COVID-19, and recognized the county Women in Government Leadership Program. The board also adopted 30 different resolutions. The following were among the measures adopted: 

American Rescue Plan

• The Board authorized the acceptance of $22,324,096.50 in Federal Aid under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

The funds are among the $1.9 Trillion economic stimulus package intended to assist the United States recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the ongoing recession. The county noted the funds will be held until the Board determines “appropriate funding expenditures in accordance with the rules and guidance as promulgated by the U.S. Department of Treasury.” 

• The County announced it has been awarded a $59,000 American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 grant for purposes directly related to the Saratoga County Airport. The funds may include, but not be limited to, reimbursement of the airport’s operational, maintenance, and sanitation expenses. 

Public Health, COVID-19

• Saratoga County Public Health Services was awarded $3.98 million in state aid to assist with establishing COVID-19 screening and testing programs for students, teachers and staff to support and maintain safe, in-person instructions for schools. 

The grant funding will be used to obtain diagnostic tests and laboratory services to screen for COVID-19, pay shipping costs for specimens, and support a K-12 COVID surveillance officer as well as school managers to provide on-site testing support to schools throughout the county. 

• The county subsequently moved to execute an agreement of up to $3.52 million with Quadrant Biosciences, Inc., of Syracuse, for COVID-19 screening, diagnostic and laboratory services to assist schools with enhanced detection and response to COVID-19.  Quadrant Biosciences will provide Clarifi COVID-19 saliva testing kits, which are FDA approved saliva-based, qPCR screening and diagnostic testing for the virus, as well as providing laboratory services with results available in 24 hours or less. 

• The Board approved the acceptance of $650,000 in state funds for the enhanced detection, surveillance and prevention of COVID-19, and to pay for employees hired for COVID-19 response activities. Previously, $1.5 million for the ELC-COVID-19 Enhanced Detection Non-Lab grant was accepted for the term July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2022. The new funding period covers Feb. 1, 2021 through March 31, 2023. 

• With an eye on transitioning County Public Health Services into a full-service health department, the Board agreed to create a Director of Environmental Health Services position, at a base salary of $95,472. 

Other Items

• Based on recommendations from the county Public Safety Committee and the Saratoga County Sheriff, the county will execute an agreement with the United States Department of the Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center for the lease of 15 night vision googles, at a cost of $4,500. The cost will be fully funded by a Homeland Security grant

• The Board amended a previous resolution capped at just over $143,000 with Presentation Concepts Corporation which called for for audio/visual upgrades of the Board of Supervisors Room and Conference Room. That limit was increased to a total project cost of up to $315,000. 

• The Board authorized payment under the 2021 Trails Grant Program of approximately $75,000 to various county municipalities to fund trail development and construction projects. Among the municipalities and projects are: Town of Greenfield – $10,000 to be applied towards the Brookhaven Park Trail Upgrades; Town of Ballston – $2,500 to be applied towards the Ballston Veteran’s Trail Extension to Garrett Road; Town of Moreau – $10,000 to be applied towards the Hudson River Byway Trail; Town of Wilton, Town of Greenfield / Saratoga PLAN –$10,000 each to be applied towards the Saratoga County Community Forest; Town of Malta – just over $2,100 to be applied towards the Malta Ecological Park Trail Restoration. Each municipality is required to provide matching funds or services in-kind. 

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