ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis area communities received tens of millions of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. However, St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann says some of your ARPA pandemic tax dollars may be wasted.

Ehlmann spoke with FOX 2 about how Congress set up the $1.9 trillion program. He said he has doubts about it and thinks a lot of tax dollars were misused.

“You’ve seen the guidelines, they’re pretty vague, they’re pretty wide open,” Ehlmann said. “We would never do this, but I’m sure there’s other people out there who are going to be very liberal in how they interpret those guidelines.”

St. Charles County received $78 million in ARPA funds. At first, Ehlmann said the county had not decided on how to spend the money, but now he said the county knows what they plan to do with the funds.

The county is going to distribute $7.8 million to healthcare-related groups on the front line of the battle against COVID-19, $23 million for HVAC systems in county buildings, and $25 million for capital improvements to jails for things such as mental health services and upgrading the kitchen. They are also going to spend $10 million on roads.

Ehlman said he defends the county’s spending decisions.

“This is the hand that Congress has dealt me and the county council, and we’re going to play that hand as best we can, in the best interest of the most people in St. Charles County,” he said.