By Neil Allen
On Monday, Brandon Town Manager David Atherton recommended that the town use the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on wastewater projects.
“Looking at the criteria, they are looking at water and wastewater projects,” he said. “The more we learn about it, the more I think we should put it towards wastewater. The performance report we had done will be really helpful.”
Atherton specifically mentioned line infiltration and the pump station on Newton Road.
“We need to ensure that the widest section of the community be assisted with this,” said Select Board Chair Seth Hopkins. “Infrastructure is important.”
Select Board member Tim Guiles suggested that cybersecurity be a focus. “We could strengthen that and be better about our cybersecurity,” he said.
“There are pretty strict guidelines. You have to be really careful how you spend it. You have to use caution on how you present the project, so you don’t have to pay it back,” warned state Representative Stephanie Jerome, (Rutland-6). “Vermont has been so cautious that we’re spending it the right way.
“You have three-and-a-half years until it has to being spent. You need to do the most you can for the community,” she continued.
Guiles also talked about the importance of public engagement. “With the level of money coming into Vermont, everyone should feel like they’re a part of it.”
Hopkins cautioned against involving the public until the town knows more. “We need to know how much we got and what can be done before we have public engagement.”
“When you read through the uses it starts to pen up important conversations. It allows us to do something for those who have the greatest need.”
“We’re in the ‘under-advisement’ stage,” said Hopkins. “This is the initial discussion; I expect there will be more discussion with more information.”
The board voted unanimously to appoint the town manager as the ARPA representative for the town.