By Brett Yates
The Pittsfield Rescue Plan Committee will hold its first meeting on March 24 at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall, with additional virtual access via Microsoft Teams, the Select Board determined on Thursday, March 3.
Pittsfield will receive $165,306 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), last year’s $1.9 billion federal stimulus. To come up with spending ideas, the town held a public brainstorming session on Feb. 10, during which Select Board Chair Ann Kuendig announced the formation of a seven-person committee that will provide the board with a ranked list of eligible projects.
The membership must include a board member, a member of the planning commission, a member of the nonprofit Pittsfield Community Connections, a local business owner, and three Pittsfield residents. AJ Ruben, Micheline Bissell, Katie Stiles, and Lynda Colton have volunteered for the first four roles. Two of the slots for Pittsfield residents remain available.
Ruben expects the commitment to last “three or four months, tops,” with meetings at least once a month on Thursdays.
“My goal is to spend this money quickly. I don’t want to spend it stupidly, but I definitely don’t want to sit on it for two years,” Ruben said.
Guidance from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and the Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission will help committee members understand ARPA’s complex criteria for spending. Towns must obligate their funds by the end of 2024.
Pittsfield residents can also submit ideas to [email protected] So far, townspeople have recommended an updated playground, a repaved basketball court, a cell phone tower, upgrades to the firehouse, and broadband subsidies for low-income households, among other proposals.
Ruben and Kuendig have both identified the installation of a generator at the Town Hall as a top priority.