Chester to hold public forum on use of $900k in ARPA funds

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

On Monday, May 9 Chester residents and property owners will be able to to weigh in on how the town will use $900,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds. The brainstorming session is part of an outreach effort to get the public’s ideas for the best use of the one-time money.

Vermont’s share of the funds — about $200 million spread over all of its municipalities — will need to be obligated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.

In Chester, Town Manager Julie Hance has said she would like to use the monies for one-time expenses that would improve the town but would not normally be part of the regular municipal budget.

Click image to enlarge.

When ARPA funding first became available — spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing shutdowns — there were specific areas in which it could be spent including water, wastewater and broadband. But those strictures have fallen away with the U.S. Treasury’s final rule that allows the towns to spend the money (up to a $10 million limit) on “government services.” The town would not, however, be able to use the funds for lowering taxes by adding it as income to the budget or paying on existing debt.

Hance has already polled the heads of the town’s departments for ideas on using the money, but many of those expenses could be funded through the many grants that have come out of Covid recovery programs. So Hance says having a more expansive list gives the town flexibility in choosing projects to fund and getting them done. With that list and the ideas gleaned from townspeople, it will be up to the select board to prioritize the funding so the town can move forward with planning and purchasing.

Chester’s ARPA Community Forum will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 9 at Town Hall, 556 Elm St., and via Zoom. To join the meeting remotely go to https://zoom.us/j/82325568444

Refreshments will be available at Town Hall.

 

 

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  1. Linda Diak says:

    Quilting school and gallery!

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