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Lee County decides how to spend COVID relief funds

The county recieved some 3.2 Million dollars, which will focus on emergency services and parks and recreation

LEE COUNTY, S.C. — Lee County has decided how they plan to spend some 3.2 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act funding.

The federal government required funds to be spent on things like public health lost revenue, and premium pays for essential staff just to name a few.

Alan Watkins, Lee County Administrator, explains where the first half of the funds were spent. "We received our first half in July of last year," he said, "and we started with some initial projects -- like premium pay for employees was one thing we did." 

Watkins adds the second half of funding will work towards projects that he says will improve emergency services.

"To upgrade both our EMS Headquarters, which it's gonna be a lot of upgrades in the area of sleeping facilities and things for the employees, and storage for medicine."

Adding funding will also be used for the Fire Department as they have recently grown in staff, "We've gone from entire volunteer firefighters to having 9 paid firemen on our staff, we have at least 2-3 firemen on duty 24/7 so we need to upgrade our sleeping facility, those two projects are in the range from 1.8 to 2 million dollars." 

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Other funding will go towards Parks & Recreation with several projects in mind. "Quality of life is important from an economic standpoint when we're trying to attract people to move here...What this is going to do is address some things here in town, but also in some rural parts that have not seen real upgrades probably in 15-20 years." 

RELATED: Here's how the City of Orangeburg plans to spend $2M in federal funds

Isaac Jackson was out in downtown Bishopville and says it's a great thing to spend the money on, "I think that' great because we need more of that around here man."

As for when the projects will start, Watkins says EMS work should start in 45 days, Fire Department work early next year, and Parks and Recreation renovations in 10-12 weeks. 

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