Township Board Discusses American Rescue Plan Funding
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The Township Board meeting on April 26, 2022 began with a discussion of how to disperse funding from the American Rescue Plan.
The ARP was created eighteen months ago and provides financial relief to local governments.
The Township is set to receive $4.5 million from the ARP. They currently have received $2.2 million, the second payment is expected in October.
Suggestions on how to spend the $4.5 million were raised by Township Manager, Frank Walsh. None of these suggestions are yet set in stone.
Once the Board chooses how they will move forward, Melissa Massey, director of operations and projects, will be overseeing the distributions of the funds into the projects.
Starting off, one recommendation of the ARP funding is to allocate around $1.5 million to Local road construction.
IT improvements is also a suggestion for receiving APR funding. $900,000 would go into this area.
Township Manager, Frank Walsh said, “We have a really exhausted IT infrastructure. It needs to be fixed tomorrow, should’ve been done yesterday.”
Another option for the ARP would be broadband improvements, around $1.5 million in this area.
Fire Department power cots would also be useful. 4 cots would be added at a cost around $240,000.
Manager Walsh said, “These costs are really an enhancement not just for the paramedics, but the patients as well.”
Some funding could be set aside for the police department. This would include adding a security system for around $300,000.
Lastly, a possible expenditure of the ARP could be windscreens at the Marketplace for a cost of around $175,000. This is a popular area but is not very useful on windy days.
Manager Walsh said, “That is an overview of where we see the $4.5 million going at the best and highest use of our funds,” He continued, “For me when I think about the spending, I close my eyes and think about 45,000 residents and what they would want and roads comes to the top of the list for me.”
The Board then discussed which of these recommendations they felt should be included in the ARP funding.
One item was discussed that was not on the list of offered recommendations, water and sewer infrastructure. This is also a viable option that the Board may take into consideration.
No set decisions have been made yet, the board is currently still in the brainstorming process. Discussions around the APR will continue through the next six months.
This money has to be allocated by December of 2024 and spent by December 31, 2026.
While there is much more to be discussed regarding this topic, the Board feels this discussion helped start them in the right direction.