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Cerro Gordo supervisors discuss potential uses of American Rescue Plan funding

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors on Monday afternoon held a workshop session to discuss potential uses of funding the county has received through the American Rescue Plan.

The $1.9 trillion package includes $4.1 million for Cerro Gordo County. According to revenue replacement calculations, the county can use over $730,000 of the $4.1 million for anything  except for debt service payments or cash reserves for the future.

One of the ideas floated during the meeting was partnering with the North Iowa Fair Board on making $400,000 worth of improvements to the fair’s equestrian center. A preliminary idea would have the Fair Board raise $200,000 and receive a $200,000 matching grant from the county.

Supervisor Chris Watts says horse shows in the last 18 months have helped the fairgrounds financially.   “I think it’s a viable project that could bring not just to the fairgrounds but revenue to north Iowa because they’ll be staying at the hotels & motels, eating at restaurants, shopping, so on and so forth. I think it would be something that we strongly consider also.”

Supervisor Tim Latham says such an investment would help keep people involved in the horse shows spending money when they come to Mason City.   “If you talk to any of the hotels when the big shows are in town, every hotel around is full, every restaurant is full. They’ve got to stop and get gas. It’s bringing in revenue to the county. They’ve worked hard out there to improve the facility and this would be just another added addition that would help keep horse shows in our area instead of going to Omaha or Minneapolis or any other place that they show.”

Other ideas on what to use the money for discussed during Monday’s meeting was paying ahead of time the grants the supervisors approved for outside funding of agencies, funding for parks and trails improvements, and IT projects. 

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