This summer local select boards have received requests from Neck of the Woods child care center in Waitsfield for $25,000 per town to help fund a commercial kitchen and cafeteria. That would allow Head Start, a critical early childhood education program that helps students and families prepare for success in school.


That’s not the first request local towns have had for a share of the federal windfall that came with the American Rescue Plan Act, passed last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Warren, Waitsfield and Fayston were asked earlier this year to use 15% of their ARPA funds to pay for an executive director for the Mad River Valley Housing Coalition. The select boards of those towns declined the request, opting instead to wait for their shared annual meeting this fall.

And now, the Mad River Valley Planning District is taking the issue of housing under its umbrella with plans for a housing summit next month.

Towns have also been receiving requests throughout the last year from community organizations and entities and have been working to prioritize how those funds should be spent. 


Waitsfield received $506,081. Warren received $499,505. Fayston received $397,571. Moretown received $497,711 and Duxbury received $390, 098.

While each town is working on its own method of spending priorities for the money along with ways to rank requests, there’s a bigger question each town and the entire community should be asking.

Should this money be spent on large, high dollar, transformational projects that will significantly change our community for the better? That would speak to spending it on housing (and the infrastructure to support more housing) or child care to name two of our most pressing issues. Or should that money be used to purchase regular town needs such as road graders? Should those funds be used to replace culverts? Should it go to social justice initiatives?

How do we, as residents of each of our towns, as well as residents of the Mad River Valley want to see these one-time funds deployed in our community and what do we want to see accomplished with them?

Towns are organizing to take input on this from residents. Please share yours when the time comes.