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Special Select Board Meeting-ARPA Fund(s) Allocation
August 18, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Next Thursday, August 18, the Woodbury Select Board will hold a special public meeting to hear from the local groups who have applied for allocations from the ARPA funds the town has received. The meeting will be held at the Town Hall starting at 6:00 PM.
The American Rescue Plan Act was authorized by congress in 2021 to provide “additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses.” Woodbury has received $263,960, to fund program, services or projects that are eligible under rules issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. There are not a lot of rules, but generally the money should be used to support the provision of government services..
Earlier this year a committee of local volunteers was assembled to do public outreach, to inform the public of the funding opportunities and assess what projects or services the townspeople would favor. A survey was sent by mail to every household based on the voter checklist. 51 surveys were returned. The survey asked for rankings among 13 general subject areas. The survey results are available on request. The highest-ranking projects were broadband expansion and road repairs.
Twenty-two applications were received. Some were just ideas, some were unreasonably expensive, and several were just unsupported by any facts or numbers. The Select Board has narrowed down the eligible projects to 11 viable requests. Three have already been approved: purchase of Zoom video equipment that was needed earlier in the year ($2,000); the installation of phone and internet at the Town Hall (needed prior to election season) and installation of a WIFI hot spot (total $800) and a contribution of $15,000 toward the construction of an outdoor classroom at the elementary school, a project that is expected to start this summer.
The following applications are being considered:
$25,000 to digitize the town’s land records
$6,800 to weatherize the Town Office
$30,000 to weatherize the Town Hall
$50,000 to secure high-speed broadband connections through CV Fiber, throughout the town. (Proposed by the Planning Commission)
$4,000 to purchase a commercial tent for town events
$800 for the Friends of Woodbury Elementary School, to make up for lost fundraising revenue
$10,000 for the Woodbury Community Library, to make up for lost fundraising revenue
$111,677.58 for the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department: Premium Pay for volunteers ($72,000): lost fundraising revenue ($22,474): budget shortfalls ($16,833) and some for COVID supplies.
At this meeting, the groups making these proposals will be invited to explain how their proposed project will benefit the people of Woodbury. The public will be invited to ask questions. There will not be “voting” as such but the Select Board will consider all comments.
It is the responsibility of the Select Board to finally determine which proposals should be approved. Should we choose projects that will benefit the most taxpayers? Should we approve projects that will provide services or program opportunities that we could not otherwise afford?
The ARPA Committee proposed a deadline for applications of May 2, 2022, and a second application round will be due on May 2, 2023. The committee felt that there may be other projects that come to mind or other needs that become apparent during the next year. Hope to see you Thursday August 18, 6 PM at the Town Hall.