BROOKLINE — Town Administrator Mel Kleckner is pleased to announce that the Town of Brookline has launched an interactive website that allows residents and stakeholders to provide feedback and track the utilization of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Brookline has received half of the $32.4 million allocated to it so far through the ARPA, which was signed into law on March 11. The program is intended to support the U.S. effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in myriad ways, including offsetting the economic impact of the pandemic and supporting public health efforts meant to curb the spread of the virus.
Of the $1.9 trillion package, $360 billion is intended to benefit the Coronavirus State and Local Recovery Fund, through which Brookline will receive its funding. Brookline may receive an additional nearly $11.5 million via Norfolk County.
Unlike the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which were intended to allay the direct and immediate impacts of the pandemic, the American Rescue Plan allows for more flexible spending and extends the timeline for recipients to allocate money.
“This funding has the potential to benefit our community in diverse and lasting ways,” Kleckner said. “An important part is ensuring that our residents and stakeholders have a say in how that funding would be best utilized in order to have the most widespread impact, so I encourage residents to take advantage of the opportunity to provide their input and take part in this important process.”
Residents have the opportunity to provide direct feedback on how the funding is used via OpenGov, which the town also utilizes to track its operating budget.
The budget challenge tool is one feature residents are encouraged to use in order to indicate how they would allocate $100 of the money in specific ways across a variety of categories, including:
- Supporting public health response efforts
- Addressing negative economic impacts
- Replacing public sector revenue loss
- Premium pay for essential workers
- Water and sewer infrastructure
- Broadband infrastructure
- Other eligible uses
After indicating how they would spend the funding, residents may provide a written statement providing more detail about their choices.
Public applications for formal project requests may also be found on the site. The town will utilize the site to provide regular updates on ARPA requests and funding awards, as well as to provide information on eligibility and reporting requirements.
The ARPA also allocates hundreds of billions of dollars for public health and vaccines, assistance for vulnerable populations, education and housing stabilization, economic recovery assistance and direct assistance for families and individuals.
To access the portal and provide feedback, click here.