The City of Watertown will receive $10.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, and next week the City Council will host a meeting to hear from residents about how they would like to see the money spent.
The Council’s Committee on Budget & Fiscal Oversight will hold the meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. in City Hall and there will be a remote option. Meeting information and the remote link will be posted here.
Watertown must have a final plan for where the ARPA funds will be spent by Dec. 31, 2024, and the funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2026, said Council Vice President Vincent Piccirilli, who chairs the Budget & Fiscal Oversight Committee.
The public meeting came out of the recommendations from the Committee on Budget & Fiscal Oversight meeting on Jan. 3. Other recommendations included: adding a page on the City’s website about the ARPA funds and where residents can make suggestions, get input from residents and City officials, develop a set of draft recommendations for how to use the ARPA funds, and get more feedback on the draft from residents and city officials. Finally, the committee would submit a final recommendation to the full Council.
At the meeting on Feb. 1, a representative from consulting firm Clifton/Larson/Allen will talk about what the ARPA funds can and cannot be spent on, Piccirilli said. Also, Watertown officials will share examples of how neighboring and comparable communities are using ARPA funds.
There will be a question and answer period for the public during the meeting, but the Committee will not be soliciting proposals, yet, for projects to fund with ARPA dollars, Piccirilli said.
The public will have other opportunities, besides the meeting, to give input, including participating in FlashVote online polls, submitting written proposals by mail or email, calling in ideas by phone, and taking on-paper surveys.