As Waitsfield’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) committee reviews applications from the community seeking access to some of the town’s $506,000 in ARPA funding, the town is also reviewing its own projects and priorities for some of those funds.
Additionally, the town is looking at whether some of the funding requests from town-affiliated organizations should be brought under the umbrella of the town’s regular budgeting process versus receiving ARPA funding.
The select board has earmarked an estimated $440,974 for town projects including $29,546 to cover increasing the town treasurer/grant administrator position to full time. Another $67,000 is earmarked for digitizing town records
The town also has a tentative set-aside of $125,000 to be used to engineer plans to bring some sort of town wastewater system for Waitsfield Village and Irasville. The town learned last week at a meeting to review the 90% completion of a water and wastewater study that there may be state funding available for that engineering which would free up those funds for other projects.
Connection houses within the water system service area is one possible way to free up land for wastewater in the village and Irasville; hence, the town has $200,000 set-aside for that. That number is an absolute estimate, according to the town administrator Annie Decker-Dell’Isolla.
The Waitsfield-Fayston Fire Department has requested about $20,000 in town ARPA funds for gear, equipment and radios. That would be split 60/40% with the town of Fayston.
The town has a line item in its ARPA wish list spreadsheet for the General Wait House, but no figure has been added. The town has a line item for updating its website in the spreadsheet as well.
Beyond its own needs, the board earmarked requests that came in from the Waitsfield Tree Board and the Joslin Memorial Library. The tree board requested $50,000 from the general ARPA fund and the library requested $20,000 for improving the park adjacent to the library. Another request was made for $5,000 from the Friends of Virginia Farley Riverside Park to help fund and maintain the 7-acre Tardy parcel that will become a park honoring conservationist Virginian Farley. Those projects, the board concurred, would be better off considered and funded through the town’s regular budgeting process.
The board also discussed one of the metrics that the ARPA committee is using when evaluating and ranking requests – and that is what percent of the project costs are folks asking to have funded and whether they’ve sought other funding sources and asked other local towns.
Some of the requests for funding, including one from The Valley Players for $70,000 are being made only to Waitsfield and board member Brian Shupe suggested that the town encourage ARPA fund applicants to also explore other Valley funding sources.