Water-Related News

Polk County to focus on infrastructure with $140 million COVID-19 relief money

As Polk County inches closer to adopting its budget for next fiscal year, one priority is to determine how to use the $140 million in COVID relief funding from the federal government.

As it stands today, the county’s approach is to steer more than half of the American Rescue Plan funding toward a backlog of road, stormwater and utility needs. In total, $82.7 million of that relief money has been designated to roughly 40 infrastructure improvement projects.

The focus is largely on catching up on infrastructure needs. Some examples include: a $15 million plan to improve drainage along Imperial Lakes Boulevard; a $4.6 million effort to mitigate flooding along Lake Eva in Haines City; a $2.5 million HVAC upgrade within county facilities to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The city of Lakeland is also focusing on overdue infrastructure needs with its $22.7 million in ARP funding. Its plan is to set aside $18.7 million, 80% of the money, to replace 2.7 miles of sewage pipe that runs between Lake Hunter and Beacon Hill.

The Polk county commission directed staff on Aug. 13 to move forward with a plan to allocate 59% of the ARP money to infrastructure.