Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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HomeNewsBusinessFor stimulus funds, Eau Claire County considering solar and water testing projects

For stimulus funds, Eau Claire County considering solar and water testing projects

The newest initiatives Eau Claire Government authorities are funding with federal pandemic relief funds include adding solar panels to the tops of two county buildings and increasing testing of drinking water.

The county’s Administration Committee considered numerous options for how to use the few remaining unallocated monies from the $20.3 million in federal funds the county received in 2021 before recommending the projects.

Supervisors approved spending $527,933 of the county’s American Recovery Plan Act money to fund those efforts during the County Board meeting last week, 19-1 (nine were present that evening).

The projects that were chosen “had bubbled to the top,” said Nancy Coffey, a county supervisor who sits on that group.

The county government’s objective of being carbon-neutral and using renewable energy by 2050 will be aided by the county’s solar panels, which will provide clean energy to offset the power bills for the two buildings.

Solar panels will be put up for $275,000 on the roof of the Eau Claire County Agriculture & Resource Center in Altoona and the Human Services Department wing of the courthouse in Eau Claire.

Coffey claimed that adding solar panels is both timely and financially advantageous given that roof repairs are now being made at the Courthouse and are anticipated for the Altoona building next year.

She suggested that you instal the solar panels at the same time as making those repairs.

At the County Board meeting on Tuesday, the remaining $252,933 in ARPA monies were given for the purchase of new water testing tools and the free well testing of 200 rural residents. Of that, $155,000 will be used to buy and set up a sophisticated lab tool that will examine water samples for specific metals. The technology was requested by the Eau Claire City-County Health Department on the grounds that it would speed up and reduce the cost of testing for various toxins in private and public water samples.

The county will test 200 private wells for a variety of water pollutants with the remaining $97,933 from last week’s ARPA allotment. Researchers from UW-Eau Claire will then examine the test findings in a study to find any potential problems with drinking water in rural areas. With this private well testing, Coffey explained, “what we’re attempting to do is get a database across the county.”

Residents of the county would not have to pay for the tests, and according to Coffey, the results may help them qualify for state grants to assist address issues with private wells. The county has $428,794 remaining from its American Recovery Plan Act funds after deciding to pay the projects last week, according to Coffey.

The County Board previously allocated federal cash for rural broadband expansion, grants to nonprofit organisations and small companies harmed by the pandemic, and lowering county borrowing for capital projects. In accordance with the provisions outlined in the act, the federal funds must be distributed by the end of 2024.

News Summary:

  • For stimulus funds, Eau Claire County considering solar and water testing projects
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