The Burlington Select Board approved the use of federal funds meant to help communities recover from the pandemic to help address mental health and communication during Monday night’s meeting.
The board voted to use $100,000 of the town’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support additional hours for mental health support at both the Police Department ($50,000) and Burlington Youth and Family Service ($30,000) and support the contract with the Collins Center ($20,000) for the town’s Communications Plan.
Last fall the board endorsed a plan to earmark $3 million of the total $8.5 million the town received for three purposes:
- $1.5 million to replace local revenue lost due to the impact of the pandemic over three years (FY22, FY23 and FY24)
- $500,000 for the design phase of PFAS filter project at the Mill Pond
Water Treatment Facility.
- $1 million for ongoing covid costs.
The $100,000 approved this week is part of the $1 million for ongoing covid costs.
The proposed uses for the funds was presented by Town Accountant/Assistant Town Administrator John Danizio who said both the police and FYFS have seen an increase in mental health related crises since the start of the pandemic.
“One of the lingering issues of the pandemic is the need for mental health support,” he said.
He also said the way people and institutions communicate has changed greatly in the past few years as everyone adjusted to moving most meetings online.
“Another one of the things that came from Covid is that how we do business has changed quite a bit,” he said.
Members of the board approved the proposed use of the funds.
“I think these three items are great ways to use the funds,” Selectman Jim Tigges said. “I know BYFS is looking for additional assistance and the Police Department is more busy than normal with mental health calls.”