RI towns are in for a big payday. Here's how your town's spending COVID-relief money.

RI towns are in for a big payday. Here’s how your town’s spending COVID-relief money.

The General Assembly has been under increasing pressure to start spending more than $1.1 billion in aid that Rhode Island has received under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Much less attention has been paid to the fact that individual towns and cities are also receiving a massive injection of federal funds — and many have yet to take advantage of the windfall.

The Providence Journal asked the state’s 39 municipalities about their plans for the money. Here’s a breakdown of what each is expected to receive, according to the office of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and what they’ve spent so far.

Information on how funds have been spent or allocated was provided by officials in each city and town, except where indicated. Barrington

Total expected: $4.8 million

Total committed: $1.6 million

Where the money is going: $1,600,000 has been set aside to upgrade the East Providence Wastewater Treatment Facility in Riverside, which Barrington shares with East Providence. The two towns are splitting the cost.

Barrington is also spending $22,320.01 to replace its “archaic” website, which last underwent a major update in 2014. CivicPlus, a Kansas-based company that created municipal websites for South Kingstown and Westerly, will be designing the new site.

What’s next: Barrington has set up a “virtual suggestion box” to get residents’ input on how to use the remaining money, and established an ad hoc committee to review those recommendations, according to Town Manager James Cunha.

Ideas under consideration include sidewalk and streetlight improvements, and directing funds toward housing, parks and recreation, Cunha said. Bristol

Total expected: $6.55 million

Total committed: $6.5 million

Where the money is going: Bristol appears to be the only town in Rhode Island where virtually every dollar of the ARPA funding is already spoken for. The Town Council approved a list of projects recommended by individual department heads earlier this year, said Town Administrator Steve Contente.

Dealing with flooding is a major theme: An estimated $3,715,000 is going to Phase 2B of the Tanyard Brook project, an ongoing effort to address persistent flooding and drainage issues in a large swath of the town. Another $450,000 is going to improve drainage around Collins Street and Foxhill Avenue, which experience some of the worst flooding.

An additional $550,000 will go to a project designed to manage and treat stormwater that flows into the east branch of polluted Silver Creek, while $200,000 will go toward improving drainage infrastructure nearby to prevent roadway flooding. And approximately $250,000 is dedicated to “end-of-road retrofits,” which are designed to remove asphalt and improve drainage at the ends of roads that end at the water.

Additionally, $800,000 will go to creating broadband infrastructure, and $525,000 will go toward upgrading HVAC systems in public meeting spaces.

What’s next: The projects are currently in the design and permitting stages, Contente said. Burrillville

Total expected: $5 million

Total committed : $0 What’s happening: Burrillville likely won’t decide how to allocate all of its ARPA money until July or August of 2022, according to Town Manager Michael Wood.That’s because the town envisions using the funds for sewer and water infrastructure projects that will require gathering estimates from engineers, and getting approval from the state Department of Environmental Management.Burrillville held three public hearings this fall to solicit suggestions and plans to schedule a final one in January. Community members can also make suggestions at any regular Town Council meeting.The proposals that come in have been divided into four categories: utilities and infrastructure; broadband; business and economic development; and a catch-all encompassing tourism, nonprofits and everything else.A dedicated subcommittee has been set up to sift through the ideas that are submitted for each category, Wood said. Central Falls Total expected : $5.8 million Total committed : $332,000 Where the money is going: An initial $300,000 has been allocated to make up for revenue losses in the the city’s fiscal year 2022 budget.Additionally, $25,000 has been set aside for a contract with Beta, a compliance firm, “to ensure all ARPA spending is in compliance with federal rules,” said Sarah Dell of Advocacy Solutions, which handles communications for the city.The city is also giving $5,000 to the Central Falls Panthers football team and $2,000 to Central Falls Youth Baseball, with the goal of “providing an important healthy outlet for local families during this pandemic,” Dell said. What’s next: It’s now up to the City Council to decide whether to adopt the recommendations outlined by an advisory committee set up by Mayor Maria Rivera.After a series of meetings this summer, the advisory committee suggested allocating $1.7 million […]

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