Burlington is receiving funds to help combat the pandemic and keep the local economy strong.
Town Accountant John Danizio told the Select Board the town has already received half of a $8,556,806 allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act. The American Rescue Plan Act authorizes money to cities and towns through the Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.
Danizio said the first priority of the fund is combatting the public health emergency and all of its ramifications. To that end, a portion of these funds will be reserved to provide funding for any unforeseen public health expenditures required to address the pandemic on an ongoing basis.
There are other usages for the money along with supporting public health. These include addressing negative economic impacts caused by the health emergency, replacing lost public sector revenue, providing premium pay for essential workers and investing in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. Ineligible uses of the fund are pension and OPEB obligations.
“In this funding the federal government had the wisdom to listen to state and local feedback,” Danizio said of the more flexibility allowed this time around. “These funds can be used to fill a hole in the budget.”
Danizio said the town plans to spend $500,000 in FY22 for engineer services and architectural design for the modification of the Mill Pond Water Treatment Plant to filter out the PFAS chemicals. They also plan to spend $1.5 million over the next three years to put funds in the town and school operating budgets to replace income lost during the economic shutdown.
They plan to use much of the remainder to reduce the taxpayer burden on existing water/sewer projects.