Potential officials explore use of COVID-19 funding

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City Council Member Kathryn Zandri speaks during a special meeting of City Council Monday, Aug. 15 at City Hall as Council Member Theresa C. Graveline listens. News from the citizens of Andreas Yilma

By Andreas Yilma New citizens

OUTLOOK – City officials are moving forward to determine how to spend federal COVID-19 relief funds after gathering data from a city survey.

The city has received $1.4 million of its $2.8 million total in US federal Rescue Plan Act funds in June 2021 and $400,000 this month, so far. The ARPA Funds Subcommittee — made up of City Council members Theresa C. Graveline, Kathryn Zandri, Megan Patchkofsky and Michael Palmerie Jr. — sent out an ARPA survey earlier in the year. 886 submissions were collected from early February to April 18.

Funds must be committed by 2024. Funds must be expended by 2026. Funds are currently deposited in an interest-bearing certificate of deposit.

The survey included questions including a public health response, replacing lost public sector revenue, water or sewage infrastructure projects, to support those economically affected negatively, to pay workers’ wages essentials, to support broadband infrastructure and any other suggestions residents have for funds.

Most responses came from the public health category. Respondents also wanted outdoor spaces in town and a renovation or relocation of the police department and the purchase of necessary equipment, Zandri said at a special meeting of the city council on August 15.

“I’m not surprised that the outdoor space has the most and I think the reason it had the most is because everyone from young people in the city to the elderly will use it” , said Stan Pilat, member of the city council. .

Zandri recommended hiring Berlin firm Jacunski Humes Architects to conduct a needs assessment for $25,000 on the city’s 1,500 square foot police department facility move. The company has worked on projects with several police services, including its current project with Plymouth Police Service.

“They know the needs of the police department very well,” Zandri said.

Zandri said she would also like to see the Hotchkiss Field parking lot and the walking path around that park both paved. She also wanted an electronic public notice board in front of the town hall.

Fitzgerald said he would like to see estimates for a pavilion at Hotchkiss Field.

Graveline said one of the council’s biggest stumbling blocks is pricing projects.

“One of the first things we need to do is get cost estimates,” Graveline said.

Robert Chatfield. Archive

Mayor Robert Chatfield said city officials would receive requests for proposals against a bid with a set of plans.

“If we ask for a proposal, it will be up to the person who makes the proposal to me to determine what this company is going to do when they give us a price,” Chatfield said.

A sampling of things that people thought the city could use the money for a dog park, wading pool, walking paths, efforts to attract more small businesses to town, a municipal swimming pool, road repairs, support programs that promote healthy living, improvements to the community center, updates and additions to parks and playgrounds, extending natural gas lines across the city, expanding the food bank, improving roads, providing kits COVID-19 test kits and masks.

Patchkofsky said the next steps would be to research the projects most favored by city officials and residents and what would provide the best services for the city’s current and future needs.

“Projects identified for funding will follow the City of Prospect’s procurement procedures, the city meeting process and city charter guidelines,” Patchkofsky said.

Pilat said city officials should receive proposals with no strings attached to see where they might have funds to allocate.

“At least that way, if we have estimates in front of us with no strings attached, I think that could make our decision a lot easier on where to put the money,” Pilat said.

Patchkofsky said the first step is to get price estimates, but she would like city officials to fall under certain areas so they don’t try to get all kinds of information and even consider really one way or another.

“I think at some point we have to lock down the paths that we want to go for sure and then get the information,” Patchkofsky said.

“We want to promote things that would be sustainable, that would serve generations to come, and that would still be there,” Zandri said.

Graveline later said that the role of the ARPA subcommittee was over after gathering data on the city and that the council needed another meeting for an ARPA discussion. It’s time for the full council to reflect and make decisions with the mayor, she added.

The council did not make any decisions on the projects.

“We’re leaning toward improving indoor and outdoor public spaces,” Graveline said. “We will fix these issues. We will pay attention to what the public asks for.

City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting on August 30 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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