Wallingford could start accepting applications for ARPA funds next month

WALLINGFORD — City Council has approved final versions of applications for businesses and nonprofits to apply for a portion of the $13.1 million in federal pandemic relief funds the city has received.

In addition to finalizing the paperwork, the council on Tuesday night asked consultancy UHY to create an online portal where applications can be completed and submitted to the city. The portal, which is expected to launch early next month, will remain open for 60 days. Paper files will also be available at City Hall.

“Right now we’ve approved applications for businesses and nonprofits, so hopefully those can go out soon…There are still a few loose ends to iron out, but we’ve made some progress. ..”, Councilor Vincent Testa said. .

Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said UHY will create instructions to guide applicants through the process and will also be available for questions. The Economic Development Commission will broadcast information and details will also be available on government access television.

“We will do everything we can to make sure people are alerted to the opportunity,” Dickinson said.

A committee to review the applications was formed by the board in June. Part of the approval process is a rubric to determine eligibility and the amount of ARPA funding to be made available.

shared authority

Once the committee has scored the nominations as part of the city council, it will make a recommendation on the distribution of funds to be sent to the council and the mayor, who share the power to spend the money.

The rubric the committee will use to assess business applications includes the impact ARPA funding would have on a company maintaining operations and other pandemic relief funds an applicant has received. For nonprofit organizations, the section examines whether the funds would be used to meet a need in the Wallingford community, whether the organization has the experience to manage the proposed project, additional funding required, and the timeline.

Councilor Joe Marrone said he hopes the review committee will act more harmoniously than council and proceed in a non-partisan manner.

“What I don’t want to see are councilors getting their hands on particular companies or particular nonprofits…to be frank, the council hasn’t had a great track record of doing moving forward with projects,” Marrone said.

Municipal projects

Much of the debate at Tuesday’s meeting focused on how municipal projects would be proposed and received by the application review committee.

Marrone pushed for additional measures to ensure that municipal projects that could be funded by ARPA are identified by the mayor’s office and presented to the review committee. His concern is that Dickinson might refuse to submit public projects for review. However, Tuesday’s discussion appears to have opened up opportunities for collaboration.

“The mayor has the ability to keep it all together, but he had expressed an interest in collaborating,” Marrone said.

Dickinson said he believed the process created by the council was workable and had the potential to be successful in obtaining timely funding.

“I think the majority wanted the committee to look at municipal projects — I think it can happen that way, fine,” Dickinson said. “Ultimately the mayor and council have to approve, so if there’s a pre-step in that process, so be it. But ultimately it has to be approved by the mayor and council. And that’s true for everything, whether it’s nonprofits, businesses, or municipal projects.

Disconnect, worry

Council Chairman Vincent Cervoni said he believes there has been a disconnect between the council and the mayor since the ARPA process began, with some councilors wanting to exclude Dickinson from deliberations.

“Without administration, the practical execution and distribution of money is impossible. The council does not have the capacity to administer the processes, the council does not have the capacity to distribute funds,” he said.

While he believes the committee framework and the completion of the bid documents is a good step towards moving the APRA process forward, Cervoni remains concerned that some of the same disagreements could carry over into the work of the committee. ‘exam.

“I’m worried just because of how it all happened. There’s a level of controversy about it that’s just unsettling,” he said. “…Who knows what’s going to happen. go through when the committee meets. I hope that all committee members see the higher objective rather than representing an individual riding.

[email protected]: @leith_yessian

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