Officials weigh Rescue Fund program

By Scott Johnson General Manager Marion County commissioners will weigh whether or not they want to use 6% of its $5.7 million in American Rescue Plan monies to pay the Alabama County Commission Association (ACCA) for legal and administrative aid on how the funds can be used. Marion County Administrator Kalyn Moore told county commissioners during a work session on Thursday, June 10, that they have through Friday, July 16, to decide if they want to participate in the ACCA’s Investing in Alabama Counties (IAC) program, which will help participating counties plan and spend the Rescue funds. The IAC will provide its participants with engineers, architects and attorneys to provide legal and professional opinions to navigate guidelines handed down by the U.S. Treasury on how the federal money can be used. Rescue Plan will also be liable to federal audits. However, the commission is currently undecided if it wants to pay the $346,294 bill to join the program, which would cut its spending money to $5.4 million--money which county officials are hoping to spend on a new Marion County Jail, rural water expansion projects and upgrades to the Marion County Courthouse. During the June 10 meeting, commissioner Kenneth Cochran and Bobby Burleson both expressed skepticism for the need for the program due to how much the ACCA is asking from each county. Commissioners Tim Estes and Dale Holt both said they could see how participating in the program could shield the county from liability if a federal audit reveals money was spent outside of the Rescue Plan guidelines.

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