By JOHN VAALER
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was passed by Congress last month to jumpstart the economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, is coming to Addison and Rutland counties.
A spokesperson from Vermont Congressman Peter Welch’s office informed The Reporter that about $ 1.2 million can be expected from federal aid to the cities of Brandon (allocated $370,000), Pittsford ($280,000), Leicester ($110,000), Goshen ($20,000), Sudbury ($50,000), Proctor ($160,000) and West Rutland ($210,000). The congressman’s staff person Doug Wemple, noted that the amounts of funding allocated to these seven cities are not currently final.
“[These] are estimates from the Congressional Research Service from March 2021, and do not include any possible reallocation of county funding,” said Wemple, though he said the numbers are fairly close.
West Rutland Town Manager Mary Ann Goulette has plans on where some of the funds should be allocated in her city. “Our initial spending thoughts are to replenish revenue lost to the pandemic and to pursue sewer and water infrastructure projects, specifically upgrading our wastewater plant,” said Goulette.
“We plan to solicit input from residents and coordinate regionally,” added Goulette.
Although Goulette wants to improve West Rutland sewers, she is not yet certain about other projects that could be funded by the $210,000 the town will receive from ARPA. “When we receive the cash, we will keep the money in a fund separate from the rest of the budget until the federal guidelines become absolutely clear on how to spend the relief money,” said Goulette. “The Vermont League of Cities and Towns and our regional planning commission will be our resources to make sure we spend it correctly and wisely.”
Like Goulette, Pittsford Town Manager John Haverstrock is also interested in using funds from the American Rescue Plan to improve sewage projects. “We have a long list of things we’d like to improve in the water and sewer infrastructure,” he said. But Haverstrock and Pittsford’s select board have not yet decided how they will spend all of the relief funds. “The town has just begun discussions on how to spend our (American Rescue Act) funds,” he noted. “In fact, we have until the end of 2024 to commit the funds and the end of 2026 to spend the funds.”