In honor of the multi-generational impacts of public services to Douglas County, the annual State of the County address focused on the 20 years of partnership and the commissioners distribution of federal funds.
Douglas County Commissioners George Teal, Abe Laydon and Lora Thomas came together to speak about the intentions of the county’s $68.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, or ARPA, during the Nov. 16 event.
Teal said the ARPA funding decisions were based on five investment principles focused on ensuring a legacy benefit, responding to immediate needs, being forward-looking, integrating board core priorities, avoiding duplication and leverage partnerships.
“These investment areas were informed by consultations with stakeholders, citizen in business community engagement, including live town meetings,” said Thomas.
Based on the investment principles, Douglas County has seven priority investment areas where ARPA funds will be distributed.
The largest investment is in water and wastewater with $35.7 million in allocated funds.
As wildfires are one of the biggest threats in Douglas County, public safety was the first priority listed by the three commissioners who took turns speaking at the event held at the Denver Marriot in Lone Tree.
The commission announced an investment of $3.6 million in ARPA funds for wildfire suppression and mitigation.
With this year marking the 20th anniversary of the county's Developmental Disabilities Mill Levy Douglas County, commissioners recognized the mutually beneficial partnerships and investments, including programs and services to help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The county committed $6.7 million in funds to programs aimed at helping citizens with intellecutal and development disabilities.
Abe Laydon introduced the ARPA fund investments for homelessness, comitting $1.17 million for the Douglas County homeless initiative.
Mental health programs remain a priority in the county, as commissioners dedicated $9.6 million to the program originally started in 2019.
In commuinty and economic investments, the counthy committed just over $5 million in ARPA funds.
Improving broadband technology was labled as priority this year, with an $8 million investment.
As the population continues to increase in Douglas County, commissioners said maintaining and improving transporation is a priority. With a population of more than 369,000 and growing, commissioners said they remain dedicated to building and expanding roadways, including the US 85 expansion that is now under construction.
In concluding the 2022 event, commissioners thanked outgoing elected officials, including Recorder and Clerk Merlin Klotz,; Coroner Jill Romann,; Assessor Lisa Frizell; and Sheriff Tony Spurlock.
These outgoing elected officials will end their term in January of 2023.
Also recognized were the unofficial newly elected representatives, including Coroner Raeann Brown; Clerk and Recorder Sheri Davis, Assessor Toby Damisch; Treasurer Dave Gill; and Sheriff Darren Weekly.
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