ARPA INFORMATION AND FUNDING STATUS

What is ARPA?

  • ARPA stands for the AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT.
  • In March 2021, Congress set aside $350 billion in pandemic-related aid for state and local governments.
  • The State of Vermont received more than $1.25 billion from ARPA.
  • $200 million was sent directly to Vermont’s cities, towns and villages.

How much did Newfane receive?

  • The Town of Newfane received a total of: $440,936.
  • This figure represents 24% of our annual town budget.

What can we spend it on?

  • The Federal government said that small towns such as ours can elect to use the monies as “revenue loss.” Newfane elected to do this because it gives us the most flexibility in what the monies can be spent on.
  • Selecting “revenue loss” means that the monies can be spent on the provision of government services which is essentially almost anything a town wants to spend its money on.
  • There are still some restrictions though, such as, you cannot use the monies to deposit into pension funds; you cannot contribute to rainy day funds or reserve funds or satisfaction of a settlement or judgement or an outstanding debt service.
  • But overall, anything else that a town government would normally spend money on is legitimate for the ARPA funds.

When must the funds be spent?

  • By December 31, 2024 you must decide how you are going to spend the money (you have to be exact: who will receive the monies, how much, etc.).
  • You then have until December 31, 2026 to actually spend all the funds.

How will Newfane decide how to spend its funds?

  • First, the Planning Commission conducted a survey in 2021 asking residents for their opinions.
    • You can read their original survey here
    • You can read their January 18, 2022 report to the Selectboard summarizing their findings here
    • You can watch the presentation by Planning Commission Chairman Ken Estey to the Selectboard here (starts at 17;49 minutes)
  • Based on their findings, the Selectboard developed a plan to begin discussions on these ideas.
    • You can read the Selectboard plan here
  • Second, residents are welcome to come to the Selectboard at any time with their ideas and requests.

How is the Town following up on the Planning Commission findings?

  • The Selectboard had four presentations to discuss how to pursue these project ideas.

Regarding infrastructure
On March 21, 2022, Chris Campany, Executive Director of the Windham Regional Commission met with the Selectboard to discuss how to address infrastructure needs and wants.
His presentation is available here.
You can watch his presentation here (starts at 3:38 minutes)

Regarding the interest in sewers and wastewater treatment
On March 21, 2022, Juli Beth Hinds, Principal of Bridgewater Planning discussed how a town can begin to think about their wastewater options and some immediate steps that can be taken to understand what it would take to consider a wastewater system.
Her presentation is available here.
You can watch her presentation here (starts at 26:38 minutes)

Regarding the need for more housing in Newfane
On April 4, 2022, Chris Campany, Executive Director of the Windham Regional Commission returned to the Selectboard meeting to discuss funding opportunities for researching housing needs.
Maxwell Vandervliet, Newfane resident, planner and President of Main Street Group – a planning organization discussed how to conduct a housing analysis for our town.
You can watch both presentations here. Chris Campany’s presentation begins at 2:43 minutes; Maxwell Vandervliet’s presentation begins at 46:08 minutes.

Regarding the need to expand access to high-speed internet
Jane Douglas, Newfane resident and town representative for DVFiber and Steven John, President of DVFiber presented plans for the rollout of high-speed internet access to Newfane and surrounding towns.
You can watch the presentation here (starts at 46:25 minutes).

All of the ideas above are big ticket items and the ARPA funds we received cannot fully fund any of them. So, how is the town approaching these ideas?

  • The Selectboard sees the ARPA monies as opportunities to research and explore what can be done to address wastewater treatment, infrastructure needs, housing and more.
  • As a first step, we are looking for grants from the State to begin work on these ideas.
  • In November 2022 the Town applied for a Bylaw Modernization Grant that would allow us to hire a consultant in order to review our zoning laws related to housing. We want to use this as a first step to seeing how we can make our zoning more accommodating to creating more housing.
  • We requested $23,206 for the grant and if we receive it, the Town will be required to contribute $3,690 toward the project. The Selectboard voted that these monies would be paid from our ARPA funds. We will receive the decision from the State in January 2023.
  • The Selectboard is planning to look for grants from the State that can help us think about how to approach the need for sewers.

Sewers, infrastructure updates and housing are long-term projects that will take several years to be realized. What other expenses have been proposed for the ARPA funds that will have a more immediate impact or meet an immediate need?

Summary of approved expenses

Date Project Expense Running Balance
Funds Received $440,936
10/17/22 Pending: Town matching funds for the Bylaw Modernization Grant, due if application is approved by the State in January 2023 $3,690
12/7/22 DV Fiber Connection Fees – approved $15,000
12/7/22 Emergency Management request for new generators $65,760 $356,486

REMINDER
If you have an idea or a project about how the town should spend their ARPA funds, please contact the Selectboard by writing to the town’s Administrative Assistant.
Email: tnewfane@newfanevt.com