By Brett Yates
Conversations in Chittenden about what the town should do with its allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) have coalesced into a formal list of nine potential projects.
President Biden signed ARPA, a $1.9 million economic stimulus, into law last spring, sending Covid-19 recovery funds (with flexible spending guidelines) to municipalities across the country. Chittenden has already collected half of the $353,031.65 it expects to receive from the federal government.
At a Select Board meeting on March 28, Andrew Quint stressed that Chittenden’s list of possibilities is not necessarily exhaustive or final. “It’s a starting place, and it’s the things that have been discussed since we found out about ARPA funding,” he explained.
The first item on the list, however, appears to be a sure thing: a new well for the town office. “I think we’ve already agreed,” Quint said.
Next on the list was “an air quality study and an air handling system” for the town office, followed by the full digitization of property records. Another proposal would bring “modifications to the town office to augment separation between employees and town residents,” possibly through the installation of an additional door, a half-door, or a plexiglass shield.
A bathroom at the town garage and a wifi hotspot at the Grange Hall occupied the list’s fifth and sixth slots. At number seven, a $36,800 contribution to the Otter Creek Communication Union District, which aims to install high-speed broadband throughout Rutland County, would unlock a matching grant from the state.
Finally, the town will also consider installing solar arrays on town property and hiring a manager for the Grange Hall. It’s not clear how many of these projects Chittenden could afford. “I don’t actually have any dollar figures for anything except for the broadband initiative,” Quint acknowledged.
At its next meeting on April 11, the Select Board will invite townspeople for a half-hour discussion about the nine proposals, starting at 6 p.m.