Volunteer to help decide how to spend $ 3 million in the city’s ARPA funds

A few weeks ago, I was writing about the City’s decision to create an ARPA committee. The Select Board assigns a seven-member committee to make recommendations on how to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds. The City is eligible for reimbursements up to a maximum of $ 3,051,241.

Some restrictions apply to how ARPA funds can be used. But the terms allow a lot of possibilities.

The board will decide how to spend the funds. * But first, the board wants the public’s input on how to handle the “one-time” opportunity.

Last week, the Board approved the specific charge of the committee, notably by confirming its composition. An ad posted by the city is now looking for two “residents of Southborough who are not currently members of an appointed or elected city council or committee.”

Although the language doesn’t say so, earlier in the month board members expressed their preference for new blood – someone who hasn’t served on any previous committee.

Volunteering for the committee is just one way residents can influence the decision of the council. The committee will be responsible for seeking broader input through surveys and forums.

Recommendations are due to be presented to Council this spring. Although the final deadline is May 16, anything that would affect the budgets for the 2022 annual municipal meeting is due by March 1.

The number of open positions has been reduced from three to two to add a member of the Planning Council to the committee. Some board members agreed that whoever sits on the master plan committee would be their preference.

These three members would serve alongside:

  • 1 member of the Advisory Committee;
  • 2 members of the capital planning committee;
  • 1 member of the economic development committee;

Applicants must complete a form here. (As of this morning, the committee is not yet listed among those applicants are asked to select in the online form. I would advise writing it in the Narrative section. You can follow up to make sure that ‘they received it by emailing selectmenoffice @ southboroughma.com.)

While the City posted the committee load, it does not seem to accurately reflect the final vote of the selection committee on the 16th. At the meeting, members discussed the relaxation of language in the fourth assignment:

The committee will develop an evaluation tool to rank the funding proposals, taking into account the benefit of the requested improvement for the operations of the City and / or the community as a whole;

They decided to replace “must develop” with “must consider developing”. (They also discussed specifying members to include a member of the “Planning Council and / or Master Plan Committee”.)

* I should note that if any of the expenses approved by the board of directors are related to a project / budget that requires the approval of the municipal assembly, then the voters will make the final decision.

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