Much has been said about ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) during this campaign. The state accepted money under ARPA from the federal government and allocated the funds to counties. Bonner County accepted the funds before knowing what strings were attached. It turned out that accepting the funds meant that the County was agreeing to abide by any executive orders that might come in the future. When funds were allocated to the Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Wheeler, who had not requested the money, immediately returned it.

Bonner County, with huge tracts of state and federal land, depends on receiving federal and state funds, which replace the money that the county is unable to collect in the form of property tax because the lands are not privately owned. Beware of any politician who says we should not take any federal money. We give the federal government lots of money, we need to get back our fair share – just not with conditions. No money with strings attached.