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    Sunday, March 26, 2023

    Montville disburses $805,000 in ARPA funds

    Montville ― The Town Council closed out 2022 by approving $805,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund allocations for several town departments.

    The allocations came at the request of the town’s Ad-Hoc COVID-19 Impact Study Committee, which met prior to the Town Council meeting.

    Councilor and Chairman of the COVID-19 Impact Study Committee, Al Mandler, said that although the committee has to make tough decisions, its “main goal is to make fiscally responsible decisions based on the provided data and their discussions.”

    The approvals did not come without discussion, as Republican Councilor Colleen Rix thought the $10,000 request from the Parks and Recreation department for a summer concert series was “embellished.” Council Chairman Tom McNally, who also serves on the COVID-19 Impact Study Committee, said the amount had been reduced from the original request of $15,000 and that any unused funds would be returned to the town.

    Rix made a motion to cut the funds in half, but the motion failed in a roll call vote.

    The police department received $85,000 for IT upgrades, $32,000 for new radios and tasers, and $2,500 for a new fence. The council allocated $60,000 to cover engineer costs for the boat launch project while Camp Oakdale received $19,000 for fencing.

    Both the American Legion ($20,000) and the Montville Polish Club ($27,000) received funding to upgrade their buildings. The Housing Authority will upgrade bathrooms at Freedom Village and Independence Village with the $30,000 it received. Senior and Social Services received $15,000 for mental health counseling while the council re-allocated $5,000 from the drafting of the Affordable Housing Plan to the Plan of Conservation & Development.

    And, in an effort to avoid a tax rate increase, the council set aside $500,000 to offset the 2023-24 budget.

    The appropriation of funds was approved in a 4-1-2 vote. Rix was the lone opposing vote while McNally and Councilor Billy Caron had to abstain due to their ties to the Polish Club.

    The town has now distributed the majority of its ARPA funds, with just $28,778 remaining of the nearly $5.5 million it received over a two-year period. Finance Director Barbara Griffin, who has served in that role since mid-October, explained that all funds need be allocated by December 2024 and need to be spent by December 2026.


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