Middletown is expected to receive $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. The Town wants to hear from residents, businesspeople, visitors and others about their ideas to use this money to help have a last impact on the community. #ARPA #MiddletownRI
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matt Sheley at (401) 712-2221 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TOWN WANTS TO HEAR ARPA IDEAS & REQUESTS
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (SEPTEMBER 27, 2021) – Do you have a great idea for how the Town of Middletown should spend its American Rescue Plan Act money?
Or how about a request for funding for an eligible project for some of the close to $5 million federal dollars to help the community recover from the impacts of COVID-19?
Either way, the Town wants to hear from you. Starting today, the Town is accepting suggestions and applications for the money at https://mdl.town/ARPAIdeas online. The deadline for filing a form with the Town is Friday, Dec. 17.
“It’s not every day we get about $5 million from the federal government to use how we see fit,” Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown said. “This is an opportunity for the Town of Middletown to do something special, something that will have a lasting positive impact on the community and we want to hear what everyone has to say.”
Earlier this year, President Joe Biden said federal dollars would be pushed down to each community across the country to assist with COVID-19 recovery. A short time later, Middletown learned it was in line for about $4.75 million of that funding.
Contrary to what some have said, the ARPA is not providing “free money” to use anywhere on anything.
Instead, there are a strict set of guidelines that outline what the funding can be used on. Among those include work that benefits public health, reverses negative economic impacts, helps those disproportionally impacted by COVID-19, improves infrastructure and replaces lost revenues. For a complete set of the guidelines, visit https://mdl.town/ARPARules online.
For a quick overview of the Town’s ongoing ARPA campaign, visit https://mdl.town/ARPAVideo online.
According to the current schedule, the plan is for the Town Council to hold two public hearings to get input from residents and others on what they think should happen with the ARPA funding. Those sessions are planned for Nov. 1 and Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 350 East Main Road.
From there, the council is expected to submit a list of its recommended priority projects to the Planning Board for review on Jan. 3, 2022. Then, the Planning Board will check the compatibility of those recommendations with the Town’s comprehensive plan and send its results back to the council on Feb. 7, 2022.
Next, it will be up to the council to set its final list of projects to be done in Middletown using ARPA funds. The deadline to obligate the ARPA funds is Dec. 31, 2024, with all the ARPA money needing to be spent by Dec. 31, 2026.
As part of the process, the federal government will be reviewing the Town’s use of the funding to make sure there’s a full accounting.
The town administrator Brown said he was excited about the process and pleased it’s drawing so much interest.
“From everything I’ve seen and heard, there’s a lot of buzz about how we’re going to use our funding and what we’re going to do,” Brown said. “This is a real opportunity for us to do something lasting for Middletown that will make a true difference in the community.”
Without input from everyone, Brown said the process will not be as rich and complete as it can be. For those who don’t want to fill out an online form, use the attached document and submit it to the Finance Department at Town Hall or drop it in the “Payments” box by the entrance to the northern side of the building.
“We want to hear what people have to say,” Brown said. “It’s their town and you never know what ideas are out there until someone submits them. This type of chance doesn’t come around every day and I know we at the Town want to capitalize on it to our fullest potential.”