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Town Of Brookline Provides Update On American Rescue Plan Funding Process and Public Engagement

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Co-Chairs Miriam Aschkenasy and John VanScoyoc announce that the committee charged with making recommendations on how millions in federal aid is spent to benefit the Town of Brookline and its residents has begun reviewing proposals.

On Friday, March 11, 2022 — one year after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law — Brookline’s ARPA Submission Review Subcommittee held its inaugural meeting. The group is tasked with reviewing submitted proposals to draw from approximately $40 million in federal funding and making final recommendations for funding to the Select Board. The first half of the funding will be awarded for Fiscal Year 2023, and the remainder will be awarded in Fiscal Year 2024.

Applicants have until Friday, March 18, 2022, to submit requests for funding to be considered in the first round of awards. Applications can be submitted here.

The subcommittee will have public meetings Fridays at 02:00 p.m. going forward, which will be recorded and made available for viewing by the public. The subcommittee will work toward sending a slate of proposals to the Select Board by April 19, 2022, and will host a joint public hearing with the Select Board on Monday, April 11, 2022, from 07:00 p.m. to 09:00 p.m. The proposals’ scores on rubrics completed by the subcommittee and town staff will be available to the public prior to the hearing.

Speakers at the public hearing will be strictly limited to 90 seconds in order to facilitate as much feedback as possible during the hearing. Residents may also submit comments via e-mail at ARPAReview@brooklinema.gov. Residents may utilize that email address to provide general feedback on the proposals and process.

To access all publicly available information about ARPA in Brookline, visit the American Rescue Plan Fund tracker here.

ARPA is intended to support the U.S. effort to combat the CoViD-19 pandemic in myriad ways, including offsetting the economic impact of the pandemic and supporting public health efforts meant to curb the spread of the virus. The federal government has given local jurisdictions discretion over how to spend the money to ensure funding responds to the wide range of community needs.

Funding can be used for:

  • supporting public health response efforts or addressing negative economic impacts;
  • replacing public sector revenue loss;
  • establishing premium pay for essential workers;
  • investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.

Last fall, the Brookline Community Foundation hosted virtual active listening sessions, work with various community partners to facilitate focus groups and partnered with the town to co-host a community charrette.

At the end of the community engagement process, BCF issued a report detailing key themes and learnings, as well as community recommendations for potential ways to use the funding. The committee intends to use these community recommendations to guide funding.

Unlike the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which were intended to allay the direct and immediate impact of the pandemic, the American Rescue Plan allows for more flexible spending and extends the timeline for recipients to allocate money. About $350 billion will be passed down to state, local, and tribal governments to help cope with the economic and public health fallout of the CoViD-19 pandemic.