MILFORD – Millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 aid could arrive in Milford, just as the city looks at Acquisition and operation of your own drinking water system.
“If (the purchase of the Milford Water Company) comes through, it will be important that we use these funds to ensure we meet the capital needs and improve the infrastructure for the water company,” said Milford Finance Director Zachary Taylor. “It’s really amazing that it’s available to us.”
The city is expected to receive $ 8.5 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act 2021, often abbreviated as ARPA. Taylor said Milford’s stake is part of $ 350 billion earmarked for states, territories and local governments.
On Monday, the city will vote on the purchase of the private Milford Water Company, the culmination of a multi-year effort to get local control over water quality and prices.
The 2021 ARPA funding differs from the 2020 funding from the same source, which was more focused on tackling the pandemic directly.
“This new wave of federal funding is more like pandemic recovery,” Taylor said.
This includes approved spending for small businesses, families, and hard-hit industries; improved pay for frontline workers; Water, sewage and broadband infrastructure projects; and continue work to contain COVID-19 and address more pressing health needs.
Taylor suggests that the city split the money three ways, leaving between $ 1 million and $ 1.5 million.
If his recommendations are approved, $ 6 million will be allocated to purchase the water company. It is said to partially handle part of the $ 12 million in ongoing improvement projects for the system.
Another $ 500,000 to $ 1 million could go to the Geriatric Authority, he said, which operates a local nursing home, Countryside Health Care of Milford.
“I think it’s certainly no secret that the healthcare industries, especially nursing homes and care facilities, have been hit the hardest,” said Taylor.
About the same amount of money would go to the Milford Board of Health as it continues what Taylor called his “Advanced Health Mission”. This essentially includes work in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Selected board members asked Taylor to see if the city’s key workers could get scholarships. Member Thomas O’Loughlin estimated that about 120 employees could see between $ 500 and $ 1,000 per person.
“I’m talking about if we even look at our guards decontaminating rooms here, decontaminating facilities, cleaning up the police station behind people who have had COVID, and actually giving it to police officers and firefighters,” O’Loughlin said. “And then the cops and firefighters who came to work every day … I think it would go a long way to give them a scholarship.”
Board member selected Paul Mazzuchelli also asked Taylor to investigate the city’s broadband internet needs to ensure employees, especially those who work remotely, have what they need.
“We are in the third decade of the 21st century,” said Mazzuchelli, “and we should be as attuned to IT as possible, especially now.”
The city doesn’t have to decide on spending until 2024, which is the deadline for spending money for most of the allowable categories. For water infrastructure, the city has to commit to projects that use the money by this year, but it has until 2026 to actually spend it.
Alison Bosma can be reached at 508-634-7582 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find her on Twitter at @AlisonBosma.