Jonesboro Council Members express concern about unexplained ARPA money

At the last meeting of the Town of Jonesboro Board of Aldermen the budget for 2022-23 was passed but not without much discussion and concern. During the extended meeting, much of the discussion was focused on $100,000.00 of ARPA money that was orginally shown as revenue in the city administration division. This was resolved when it was voted to move that money to the Water Department to be used solely for water projects. 

What wasn’t explained was why $222,000.00 that was shown to be left over from funds that was originally pinpointed to be used as matching funds for grants wasn’t listed in the new budget? There was also much discussion on what this money should be used for.

“My main question was if we had this money left over, why aren’t we using it,” said Councilperson Nia Evans-Johnson. “We could be moving forward with buying or leasing a truck to help fix the potholes on our roads or buying the water meters that we all know need to be purchased.

“I also want to know why it wasn’t even mentioned we had this money until this meeting when the City Engineer gave his breakdown of how the ARPA money had been used on the water and sewer project?

Councilman Pete Stringer echoed the sentiment about about why the money wasn’t shown.

“This isn’t found anywhere in the budget,” said Stringer. “I don’t understand how this amount of money isn’t accounted for.” 

Calls to Mayor Thompson by the Jackson Parish Journal for a response went unanswered.

ARPA stands for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 where individuals and municipalities received money to help combat the financial problems casued by the Coronavirus Epidemic. The town of Jonesboro was designated roughly 1.6 million dollars that was to be allocated equally over a two year period.

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