County mayor announces plans for new local health service center with state funding

January 25, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Health plans to build a new 12,000 square foot health center in Smithville in partnership with DeKalb County using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

County Mayor Tim Stribling made the announcement at Monday night’s monthly county commission meeting. Locations for the new facility have yet to be determined, but could be built on county-owned property adjacent to the site of the current Health Department building on Allen’s Ferry Road. The project is estimated at $3,915,400, but most of it would be funded by the state’s allocation of funding from the American Recovery Plan Act. The county is expected to offer a $398,000 local match, but Mayor Stribling said the good news is the county will be allowed to use some of its American Rescue Plan Act funds to meet the match.

“This is exciting news. I had a visit last week from our Regional Health Director, Angel Troxell, and our County Health Director, Michael Railing, and they received a letter from the Commissioner from the Tennessee Department of Health, Lisa Piercey, informing me that DeKalb County will be receiving a new Department of Health within the next few years.. It will tentatively be a building of approximately 12,000 square feet. total cost is $3,915,400 which includes surveys, environmental impact statements, engineering fees, land preparation, site clearing and preparation, utilities, etc. Normally this would require a 25% match from the county. If so, the state would put in $2,936,500 and the county’s share of our general fund would be $978,900 in local taxpayer dollars. However, due to the $130 million dollars of funds from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) received by the state, we are eligible to use up to 10% of our local ARP funds or $398,000 without having to spend local tax money and the state would then fund $3,517,400” , said the county mayor, Stribling.

The letter to the Mayor of Stribling County from Commissioner Piercey reads as follows:

“The state’s Financial Stimulus Accountability Group (FSAG) recently approved nearly $130 million in American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funding to improve public health infrastructure nationwide. the state through capital investments in local health services”.

“As you know, many local health departments are in need of updates, renovations and possibly replacements. Through an internal assessment, the ministry has highlighted projects that are considered to be of the highest priority for improving services in your communities.

“The department will establish repayable capital investment grants with each county government to provide funds to support construction and renovation projects at county-owned health department facilities. These capital investment grants will require local financial matching for the proposed projects”.

“Local matching funds may come from direct allocation of ARPA funds by the county. The ministry encourages this practice, as it would reduce the burden on local general fund obligations and align with the intent of the FSAG-approved capital investment program. Each capital investment grant will require a match of 25% of the total project cost not to exceed 10% of the county’s direct ARPA allocation”.

“The ministry will take the next few weeks to establish the infrastructure to administer this program, create guidance documents for the program and finalize estimated project costs. Once these tasks are nearly complete, the department will issue additional guidance.”

“Your local health department and regional health directors will be your primary points of contact for these projects. They will provide more information over the next few weeks.”

“As always, I appreciate your partnership in providing crucial services to the people of Tennessee,” Commissioner Piercey wrote.

The county commission has yet to vote to commit local matching funding for the project and no date has yet been set by the state or county to move forward.