Supervisors approve new allocation of ARPA marketing funds, implementation of ‘chatbot’ on county website

By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Editor

LINCOLN COUNTY – Lincoln County will utilize American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to further market the county and add a feature to the county’s website designed to assist users.

During its meeting at the Lincoln County Service Center in Merrill on Tuesday, Dec. 19, the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a resolution allocating $10,000.00 towards its ongoing efforts to promote the county.

The resolution also dedicates $17,818.30 to the implementation of a “chatbot” on the county’s website.


Supervisors this week continued their ongoing efforts to promote Lincoln County.

In April, the board gave its stamp of approval to a vision statement and branding aimed at attracting visitors to the county.

The following month, the board voted to earmark $500,000.00 in ARPA funds for marketing the county.

The resolution given the thumbs up by the board this week will allow Administrative Coordinator Renee Krueger to utilize $10,000.00 in marketing funds over the course of 2024 and 2025 to help aid in county promotion.

The funds will assist in supporting participation in community events and partnership opportunities, such as with Chambers of Commerce and the Wisconsin State Fair, “in which promotional items are critical in attracting tourism to Lincoln County,” the resolution said.


With an anticipated increase in traffic to the Lincoln County website resulting from the county’s marketing efforts, the board approved the use of ARPA funds to add a “chatbot” feature to the website.

A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with website users.

According to the resolution, the chatbot will “increase efficiency of finding information, increase the efficiency of employees answering phone calls that will be offset by the implementation of the chatbot and help Lincoln County to discover and adapt to information the chatbot is able to gather from users.”

The implementation of the chatbot will carry a price tag of $17,818.30 for a two-year pilot period, with ongoing support costs of $3,909.15 annually from the Information Technology (IT) Department’s budget if the chatbot remains in use beyond the pilot period, the resolution said.

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