Commissioners Vote Unanimously to Spend Less than 1% of ARPA Funds to Help Struggling Residents

NAACP Camden President addresses Board of Commissioners from podium.

On Thursday, June 23rd, the Camden County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to use 99.7% of $6.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds on non-Covid related expenses in FY2023, in violation of the federal guidelines for this aid. 

NAACP Camden County Branch reported previously on the County’s controversial use of ARPA funds.
Background: Camden County received $10.6 million total from the federal government to fight the pandemic and support struggling families and businesses.
These ARPA  State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds are supposed to address the urgent concerns of everyday people trying to survive:  housing, childcare, early learning, transportation, health and mental health services, utilities, and essential public and social services.
Virtually none of these priorities is reflected in the FY2023 Budget proposed by the County. They plan to spend $6.4 million in ARPA funds on building improvements, vehicles, equipment, and expenses that are unrelated to the pandemic and outside the guidelines for these special funds. Only $20,000 total will go to social services, and this is limited to paying Coastal Regional Coaches to provide transportation and to support Camden House (the local domestic violence shelter). 

ARPA funds are not intended for “business-as-usual” government expenses unless there has been a loss of revenue due to the pandemic—which the County has not demonstrated. 

In June 2021, the NAACP Camden County Branch sent a memo to the Camden County Board of Commissioners with practical, community-based suggestions for effective use of these funds. Branch President Timothy Bessent, Sr. has addressed the Commissioners at County meetings numerous times (pictured above).
You can join others in the community who are urging the County to apply these funds properly by calling 912-576-5601 or contacting your Commissioner directly. Contact information for
Commissioners is available here.