In May of 2021, the federal government passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which contained significant funding for state and local governments. Ashland will be receiving $5.3 million under the Federal Government’s ARPA assistance. This consists of a direct allocation to the town of over $1.8 million and the balance coming from the town’s share of funding to Middlesex County.
While the allowable uses of this funding are broad, it is restricted to COVID-related expenditures and minimizing the impacts of COVID-19, especially in underserved communities. Additionally, water, sewer, stormwater, and broadband infrastructure projects are specifically allowed under the law.
Federal guidelines were refined over the summer and are still being finalized. I do not anticipate major changes in the guidelines as they are being finalized. In addition to federal and state guidelines, Both the Select Board and I have developed several parameters for using funds. This includes:
- Focus funding on completing existing approved projects before taking on anything additional
- Directing ARPA funds towards expenses that are NOT re-occurring (aka operating costs)
Based on the aforementioned guidelines, a preliminary plan for ARPA funds has been developed and is detailed in the attached plan. We invite the public to offer comments on the proposed plan. After comments have been received, a final plan will be developed and reviewed by myself, as well as members of the Select Board, and the Finance Committee.
I have also included an additional column in the attached sheet for the public to see what other funds we are using in addition to ARPA funds to complete initiatives and fund programs. While these are outside of ARPA and for informational purposes only, it is included to help show the comprehensive nature of the plan.