The Town of Rochester will be getting $595,250 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, but only if it knows what to spend it on. Plymouth County Treasurer Tom O’Brien and County Commissioner Jared Valanzola visited the Select Board during its Monday night public meeting to explain how to apply for the funds the right way.
O’Brien said the town’s applications for these funds must fit one of five categories: Water Infrastructure investments, Broadband Infrastructure investments, Premium Pay for Essential Workers, Public Health and Public Safety.
A sixth category is Revenue Replacement, O’Brien said, but this category has been harder to define by anyone who has tried to apply under it. So the county is not choosing to emphasize it. O’Brien said the application requires a certifier, who is usually the town or city manager or administrator and a filer, who is usually the town accountant or other numbers cruncher.
The town has at least two and a half years to apply, O’Brien said. “So there is time to process the application,” he said. “This is a good opportunity for you to submit.”
Select Board Chairman Woody Hartley and Town Administrator Glen Cannon hinted at what categories the town would choose to apply under with their questions.
Noting that the Old Colony Regional Vocational-Technical High School has water-infrastructure issues to be addressed, Hartley asked if an application could be made for a program that would benefit several communities in the county.
“Absolutely,” O’Brien said. But he added that each municipality involved in the program would have to apply for its piece of that funding separately.
“Then we’d have to put the plan together first,” Hartley said.
Cannon noted an agreement for the Public Safety Building Feasibility Study contractor was on the night’s agenda. He asked if that building project would fit an ARPA category.
Here, too, O’Brien was encouraging. “Yes,” he said emphatically.
O’Brien and Valanzola noted more information on the ARPA program in Plymouth County is available at www.plymouthcountyarpa.com.
Elsewhere on the agenda, the Select Board approved the installation of a new utility pole at 128 Neck Road.
Next, it endorsed sending a letter of support to the state regarding the town’s new Open Space and Recreation Plan. This plan was drafted by former Conservation Agent Laurel Farinon, then received comments from state officials that were incorporated into the plan by Town Planner Nancy Durfee. This draft must now be reviewed again by the state.
The board then approved the Public Safety Building Feasibility Study agreement that now has a contractor attached to it. The Galante Architecture Studio in Cambridge will study whether to renovate or replace the police station for a contract worth approximately $10,000.
The board next accepted the land donation of Featherbed Lane to the town, after a recommendation from the Conservation Commission.
The board approved transferring $2,500 from the “sticker” account for the Gifford Park Baseball Field irrigation project.
Cannon announced a new clothing donation bin is being installed at the Council on Aging Senior Center and that boxes to discard U.S. flags are being donated to the town by SEMASS. “U.S. flags should not be thrown in the garbage or shredded,” the boxes instruct.
Cannon also announced the town’s Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Monday, December 5.
The next meeting of the Rochester Select Board was not scheduled at adjournment.
Rochester Select Board
By Michael J. DeCicco