WESTFORD — The Select Board has approved a number of new American Rescue Plan Act projects as it awaits a second round of funding from the federal government.
ARPA funding was first allocated to Westford in August of last year. The town received its first round of federal funding to replace lost revenue, invest in infrastructure such as water and broadband and support the health and economic well-being of the community. The first round totaled $3,708,985.42
This funding differs from other federal grants since the town does not need to submit a request for reimbursement. Rather, the town can allocate its funding directly, as long as it meets the Department of the Treasury’s requirements. Once the Select Board votes to allocate the funding, the funding can be used, according to Westford Town Accountant Jesse Beyer.
The board used $166,274 of its approximately $1.4 million remaining balance to fund eight new requests. The largest of the eight projects will be to upgrade Westford’s 911 system, which currently does not meet state standards.
“We were unfortunate enough to have a random test by the test from the state,” said Technology Director Mike Wells in an Aug. 9 Select Board meeting. “Although the system is better than before, it doesn’t meet the current regulations.”
Town Manager Jodi Ross noted that the town currently has a non-compliance order in place from the state over the outdated system.
Additional funding was earmarked for a second round of rental, mortgage and utility assistance for the Council on Aging, purchasing additional electronic vote tabulators and equipment for WestfordCAT.
The town is expecting to receive a second round of approximately $3.8 million in funding later this month. The funding must be spent by the end of 2024.
A complete list of recently funded projects can be found below.
- $2,110 was used to purchase an addition 100 electronic vote tabulators, which were used at Annual Town Meeting in June.
- $25,000 was used to digitize town archives.
- $67,000 was used to upgrade Westford’s phone systems to comply with emergency response requirements.
- $30,000 was used to provide funding for diesel fuel for school buses.
- $30,000 was used to provide the Council on Aging additional funding for rental, mortgage and utility assistance for seniors.
- $2,014 was used to provide audio equipment upgrades for WestfordCAT’s coverage of the School Committee in the Millennium School Meeting Room.
- $8,834 was used to provide WestfordCAT with additional storage for town meeting archives.
- $1,316 was used to provide WestfordCAT with headsets for students and staff providing school sports coverage.
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