St. John Begins ARPA Planning Process | St. John’s News

ST. JOHN – City Council met with Trista Hudson of Cender|Dalton Municipal Advisors on Monday to discuss the American Rescue Plan Act spending process.

Hudson explained how the city is authorized to spend the nearly $4 million in ARPA funding granted to it.

The board must first form an ARPA committee and approve a spending plan before appropriating specific amounts of money, Hudson explained. The spending plan can be very broad and doesn’t have to include specific dollar amounts.

There is no constraint on who can be part of the committee. Councilman Mike Aurelio, R-at-large, suggested creating a five-person committee made up of the city manager, some department heads and residents. Aurelio said department heads could formally submit funding requests which will then be reviewed by the committee.

“It would be nice to have a committee reviewing the ideas for us so we can really think about how to spend that money, Aurelio said.

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The board has decided to announce the members of the committee before the March 23 board meeting, where they will vote to approve the members.

The city must have an ARPA spending plan in place by the end of 2024 and must spend all ARPA funds by the end of 2026, Hudson said. She suggested that the board approve the plan and any changes to the plan through public resolutions.

“We have suggested in most places, for the sake of transparency and for the good of the residents you serve, to open it up to a public meeting,” Hudson said.

Louisa R. Loomis