The Bismarck Event Center is experiencing a full house with county representatives from departments like emergency managers, highway engineers, and sheriff’s deputies.

Different departments from North Dakota counties were on hand to address distinct topics such as Transportation and ARPA Funding, around $148,000,000.

“It is actually being allocated based on population. The larger population counties received more,” ND Association of Counties Research Analyst Linda Svihovec said.

Initially, the funding was sent to be used for COVID-19 mitigations, but recent legislative changes allowed for reduced restrictions on how the funds can be used.

“Counties who have had projects sitting on the shelf for so many years to bring those projects out and work forward and get some of that work done that’s been building for a long time,” Svihovec said.

But, there are restrictions and this conference helps city and government employees get the knowledge needed, on how to spend it.

“It cannot be used to supplement retirement or pension funds, it cannot be used to create a reserve or a slush or a cash pool fund, it cannot be used to pay debt,” Svihovec said.

But there are some areas where it can be used and that’s infrastructure.

“As we are at a critical point across the state with the condition of our bridges. I think that’s one place,” Svihovec said.

Some of the other workshops included discussion of how legislative issues impact counties.