Council Uses ARPA Funds on a Mix of Social Services, Water/Sewer & Climate Projects

Watertown City Hall

Watertown’s ARPA funds will got to 18 projects, including water and sewer system upgrades, public housing improvements, creating a daycare facility, and money to help local food assistance programs.

The City of Watertown had a “once in a lifetime” opportunity opportunity to spend more than $10 million on projects using the funds provided as part of the federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act). Some of the projects funded include: sewer rehabilitation, moving the Food Pantry to a new location, building a childcare center at the Watertown Boys & Girls Club, expanding the Social Service Resource Specialist Program, creating a one-time housing assistance fund, funding a public health program for the prevention of drug and substance use, adding a photovoltaic (PV) solar array at the new Watertown High School, and a study of City-supported local transit. The complete list of programs funded, and descriptions of the project, can be seen below. The $10,742,413 was part of the federal Pandemic relief package, and could be used for public health, responding to negative economic impacts, services to disproportionately impacted communities, water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, and revenue replacement, according to the City Council’s resolution. After receiving more than 30 applications for project, both from City departments and local non-profits, the Council’s Budget & Fiscal Oversight Committee held a series of meetings speaking to the projects that met the requirements of how the funds could be used.

Residents to Get a Tax Break, ARPA Proposals to be Heard, Complaints Aired About Roads

Photo by Charlie BreitroseWatertown City Hall

Watertown homeowners should see a reduction in their property tax bills in the next Fiscal Year, City Manager George Proakis shared with the City Council Tuesday night. The Council also heard about the dates when they will hear the proposed uses of the City’s ARPA funds, and complaints about a pair of road projects. Property Taxes

The Fiscal Year 2024 tax rates will be presented by the Town Assessor on Nov. 14, but Proakis provided a preview on a key highlight of the presentation at the Oct. 24 City Council meeting: a reduction of about 10 percent for the average Watertown residential property tax payer.

City Receives More Than 30 Applications for ARPA Funds

The City of Watertown has $10.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that can be spent on a variety of areas as part of Pandemic recovery. The City Council requested proposals for use of the money and received 32 applications from City departments, community organizations, individuals, or a combination of those. The requests total nearly $24 million in funds, and include areas such as affordable housing, food pantries, and social workers. The City has several applications, including multiple for water infrastructure projects. The Watertown Library seeks to build another study/work room.

Water & Sewer Rates Rising, City Could Use ARPA Funds to Lessen the Impact

Watertown water and sewer bills will be going up more than 5 percent this year, but the City could soften the blow by using federal COVID relief funds to pay for infrastructure projects. On Tuesday, the City Council approved the water and sewer rates for Fiscal Year 2024, which includes a 5.5 percent increase for water, and a 6 percent jump for sewer. For an average residential customer who uses 1,800 cubic feet of water a quarter the combined water and sewer bill would go up $16.88 from the current year to $306.76 ($107.56 for water, $199.20 for sewer). City Manager George Proakis said that a study by the City’s water and sewer consultant, The Abrahams Group, found that if the City uses the ARPA funds to pay for the $1.25 million in water and sewer projects from Fiscal Year 2025 to 2028, the rate increase would drop. The City Council has received 32 proposals for how to use the $10.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from City departments as well as outside organizations.

City Will Distribute $10.5M in ARPA Funds, Several Groups Have Ideas for How to Spend It

The kitchen at the Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church — the site of the Watertown Food Pantry, needs upgrading. The church is applying for some of the City of Watertown’s ARPA funds, with which Pastor Gary Richards hopes to create a space open to the community. Photo by Maya Shwayder. Watertown has $10.5 million to spend, and the clock is ticking! The City Council will be the ones divvying up the dollars, but Councilors will have to choose from a long (and growing) list of proposals:

The Department of Public Works needs around $5 million to replace Watertown’s crumbling water and sewer infrastructure.

Watertown Group Hosting City Chat on Using Federal ARPA Funds

The following announcement was provided by Watertown Forward:

Watertown Forward is very excited to present its next City Chat on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Watertown has a once in a life time opportunity to spend $10.5 million on projects that are within the federal guidelines in the ARPA. The City Chat will take place on this coming Sunday, January 22 at 4:30 p.m. It will be a Zoom meeting. Here is the link to the meeting. We promise that you will walk away with important information about the funds, how they can be used, and how your ideas can be considered by the City.

How to Spend Federal ARPA Funds Will be Discussed by Council Budget Committee

Watertown City Hall

The City of Watertown will receive several million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and the City Council’s Committee on Budget and Fiscal Oversight will be discussing what to do with the funds. Watertown will receiving approximately $10.5 million of ARPA funds, according to an estimate by the Massachusetts Municipal Association. The money could be spent in a number of areas, including public health, water and sewer infrastructure, public broadband networks, paying essential workers, and making up revenue lost due to the pandemic. The Council has already heard a recommendation from the Department of Public Works to spend half of the money on water and sewer infrastructure to make improvements and also keep rates down in future years. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan.