Greenfield mayor, residents exchange visions for using ARPA funds

  • Pedestrians cross Main Street in Greenfield. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 10/19/2021 4:32:27 PM

GREENFIELD — Mayor Roxann Wedegartner discussed options for the city’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding during a Monday evening virtual listening session.

As shared by Wedegartner, the $1.9 trillion dollar federal relief package that was signed into law in March provides Greenfield with roughly $5.1 million that can be used to respond to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts, as premium pay for essential workers, as revenue replacement and for infrastructure projects such as broadband, water and sewer.

Greenfield now has $2.975 million in-hand to spend after receiving a portion of the payment in August. A second portion is expected in August 2022.

Wedegartner said she was “a bit disappointed” with the quantity of Greenfield’s share, as the share was anticipated to be closer to $6 million as of March. She remains encouraged, however, due to a “relatively broad latitude to decide how to spend it.”

“If there is a silver lining from this COVID-19 pandemic, which is unfortunately still with us, it is this ARPA money,” Wedegartner said.

Before opening up the session to public comment, Wedegartner presented suggestions for how Greenfield might allocate funding. In terms of money that might be spent responding to public health emergencies, she said Greenfield could hire more health inspectors or a nurse, acquire more public bathrooms, improve outdoor spaces in the community, or assist households and small businesses.

Essential workers eligible for premium pay would be essential city workers in critical infrastructure sectors.

Wedegartner said despite losing “a fair amount of revenue in 2020,” she wouldn’t call revenue replacement “one of our highest priorities.” Revenue replacement would involve a “complicated process to calculate revenue loss” and couldn’t be used to reduce the tax rate, replenish reserve funds or pay outstanding debt interest, settlements/judgments against the city or pension liabilities.

During the subsequent public comment period, residents hoped the ARPA funding could potentially be used to support mixed-income housing, as well as water and sewer infrastructure work. Wedegartner said she will consider the recommendations.

Those who could not attend Monday’s virtual listening session are encouraged to send their input via email to mayor@greenfield-ma.org. Please write “ARPA Suggestions” in the subject line.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy