Pandemic relief funding estimated to range from $33K for Monroe to $5M for Greenfield

Staff Writer
Published: 4/8/2021 3:50:11 PM

WARWICK — Estimates for municipal aid allotments for Massachusetts cities and towns through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan for pandemic relief that President Joe Biden approved last month see Warwick receiving a potential $225,000, while a more densely populated city like Greenfield will receive over $5 million.

Speaking in a recent Selectboard meeting, Warwick Town Coordinator David Young said each town’s share of the more than $2 billion in direct aid provided to Massachusetts under the American Rescue Plan was estimated using an old Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant formula. This formula resulted in cities and towns with populations over 50,000 being eligible for more money than towns that do not exceed this population threshold.

Citing a report in The Boston Globe, Young said the Massachusetts Municipal Association estimates Warwick will get $225,000 from the recent federal appropriation while its neighbor, Northfield, will likely get $865,509.

The estimated direct municipal aid allotments for Franklin County and North Quabbin municipalities are as follows:

■Athol: $3,432,776

■Ashfield: $502,393

■Bernardston: $611,533

■Buckland: $541,309

■Charlemont: $360,775

■Colrain: $486,008

■Conway: $548,039

■Deerfield: $1,460,364

■Erving: $512,049

■Gill: $428,658

■Greenfield: $5,049,680

■Hawley: $97,728

■Heath: $203,357

■Leverett: $537,505

■Leyden: $209,209

■Monroe: $33,649

■Montague: $2,402,826

■New Salem: $298,744

■Northfield: $865,509

■Orange: $2,218,489

■Petersham: $365,749

■Phillipston: $510,879

■Rowe: $113,821

■Royalston: $373,649

■Shelburne: $537,505

■Shutesbury: $513,219

■Sunderland: $1,061,843

■Warwick: $225,009

■Wendell: $256,902

■Whately: $458,503

Young said last week that he had yet to receive confirmation that Warwick will receive the full $225,000 in aid beyond The Boston Globe article, but he hoped to collect input and make a plan for what to do with the money when it is received. Town officials emphasized spending on items that are deemed necessary, so that in the event any aid is withdrawn, they will not regret then having to spend from the town’s own reserves.

“I’ve got a suggestion box and I’m collecting ideas, good and bad,” Young told Selectboard members. “My advice for everybody is, think of this as infrastructure funding.”

According to Young, the aid money may be used to replace revenue that was lost or reduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic; pay for COVID-19-related expenses; provide support to households and businesses impacted by the crisis; invest in economic recovery and renewal; and fund investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. Selectboard member Todd Dexter asked about potentially using the money for stabilization for capital planning, but Young said that is not permitted.

“We have to spend it, and we have through 2024 to spend it,” Young said. “We don’t get to bank it.”

Young noted that the town had yet to spend the entirety of its initial $68,000 in relief funds from the first stimulus distribution. This round of aid would be provided in two installments, in 2021 and 2022. The U.S. Department of the Treasury will provide specific guidance on allowable uses of the funding, and will determine final allocations based on the most recent census data.

In his coordinator’s report for the March 29 meeting, Young announced that he had ordered a 42-inch electric mower that runs on a 56 VDC (volts direct current), and delivery is scheduled for late May or early June.

During the Selectboard meeting, Young also said he is in discussions with Fire Chief Joe Larson to see if they can direct some of the American Rescue Plan money to support Fire Department needs as an infrastructure investment. He said the department wants to buy 5-inch fire hoses. Selectboard member Brian Snell said he supports this decision, and recognizes the need to replace the hoses that are “degrading” before they ultimately become unfit for use.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.



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