Follow the links below for information from the Sept. 21, 2022, informational meeting about Amercian Rescue Plan Act funds for Tunbridge:
– Project evaluation criteria
– Minutes from the meeting
– Video of the meeting
– Project ideas
ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) Funds are coming. Tunbridge will receive nearly $400,000. Interested?
Our town officers and a group of volunteers have been working with issues of emergency preparedness and infrastructure and now is a good time to consider key town infrastructure investments with a portion of the funds. The selectboard is interested to hear your ideas and concerns as well as potentially funding other projects. Let’s see how we can make the gift to the town work for Tunbridge residents, helping families and small businesses directly. The intent of the funds is to:
- Fight the impacts and fallout from the pandemic and support families and businesses struggling as a result.
- Maintain vital public services, even amid declines in revenue resulting from the crisis/
- Build a strong, resilient, and equitable recovery by making investments that support long-term growth and opportunity.
These funds were allocated by the federal government during the pandemic. There are basic guidelines, however, town officers have been given discretion on the best uses for their town. The state also has monies it will administer using a different set of guidelines.
Towns have until December 31, 2024, to commit to the projects we want to pursue. Given the long lead times for engineering, design and professional quotes, we want to decide soon.
Our town officers and committed volunteers have been working with issues of emergency preparedness and infrastructure for several years. With ARPA, now is the time to make key investments we need and haven’t been able to afford. Given lots of guidance and research, here is our list.
We are interested to hear your ideas and concerns, too. They might fit into this ARPA funding, or they might be the seeds for future town projects we envision as a community.
Follow this link to see the U.S. Treasury’s expenditure categories.
ARPA Funds Working List
- Hire Grants Manager Applying for and administering these grants is extensive and beyond the job scope of our small-town staff. In many cases, grants provide money for administration. We believe this position will more than pay for itself, secure funds we might miss, and provide essential support for our town team. Up-front costs will come out of the town budget. Are you the right person for this job? Follow this link for the job description and contact information.
- Pave Recreation Road to the Town Garage to lower the silica layer in the garage (health and computer damage prevention). Estimated cost: $140,000
- Buy Radios for town trucks for ongoing & emergency communication. Radios will coordinate ongoing communication between the town office, fire departments, and road crew; plus the state police during emergencies – for plowing and bad storms, reporting hazards, keeping roads clear, etc. Estimated cost: $22,000
- 911 Services
❏ South Royalton Ambulance building project (SRA covers ½ of town). Estimated cost: $25,000
❏ First Branch Ambulance dispatch (FBA covers the other ½ of town). No current cost
- Town Office Building
❏ Digitize town records to support remote access and for secondary security. Estimated cost: $19,000
❏ Update the computer system’s server. Estimated cost: $15,000 to $17,500
❏ Make energy efficiency upgrades. The town had a comprehensive energy audit done for the Town Office and Town Hall buildings. George White then made an estimate. The town has chosen to focus on the Town Office structure before Town Hall because it is a primary workspace. The audit laid out four stages of renovation:
Basement: Estimated cost; $22,000 to $25,000
1st floor walls: Estimated cost; $52,000 to $58,000
Attic space: Estimated cost; $9,000 to $12,000
Window replacement: Estimated cost; $44,000
❏ Buy Emergency Operations Center generator. There are two options:
Solar, which would provide power for the buildings year-round. Estimated cost: $32,000
Gas, only for use during emergencies.
From George White’s estimate:
“These renovations are worthy for many reasons.
~Renovations are long overdue & this will ensure the building remains a valuable asset into the future.
~Operating costs will be a small fraction of the current costs.
~Renovations will pay for themselves in 15 to 20 years.
~Renovations will reduce the town’s carbon footprint for decades to come.
I would not recommend doing a scaled-down version of any of the tasks listed. Once the effort is made, the best value is to do the whole package; do it right and do it all at once.”
- Emergency & Solar Power
The town is developing an EOC, Emergency Operations Center, at the Town Office building, to protect vital services. We can install a propane generator for use only in emergencies, or we can install solar power which will operate year-round, plus in most emergencies. See details below.
Option 1: Switch to Solar Power
Small array, at or below street level. OK’d by the historic district. Will fully power the building year-round via solar energy, along with fossil-free battery back-up, plus a smaller generator for power outages over 3 days without sun. Estimated cost: $32,000 to $35,000
From Todd Tyson, Energy Committee:
“Tunbridge has a great opportunity right now to renewably save money every day of the year on its Town Office GMP electric bills by installing a grid tied solar array that can provide fossil-free backup power during an extended power outage. If the power outage exceeds 3 days, a small gas powered generator can keep the batteries charged. The estimated cost of installing a solar array with batteries plus a small generator is $32-35K. As Tunbridge looks towards a future of mitigating our local contributions to climate change, it is vital to take significant steps in creating a sustainable community.”
Option 2: Emergency Operations Center: Propane Generator only
For use only during emergencies. Estimated cost: $12,000 to $15,000
- Outdoor Pavilion
The Forest Committee is asking for 1/2 the cost of the pavilion being built at the Garage Lot. The Forest Committee will pay the other half out of the forest harvest money. This pavilion provides a new outdoor space–one that has already been used as a safe, outdoor open-air classroom for the school programs. Estimated cost: $12,000
- TVs for the OWL
The Planning Commission is seeking two large TVs that the Owl videoconferencing camera (already purchased) can connect to – one for the Town Office meetings and one in the Town Hall for larger group meetings. This will support our efforts for town processes to be more inclusive and accessible for everyone.
- From the Planning Commission
❏ One more OWL (2 screens are already on the list)
❏ Crosswalk between Town Offices and Church playground
❏ Crosswalk between Library and Village Store
❏ Sidewalk from Town Offices to the Village Store
- Outdoor recreation (trails, parks, river access, green spaces, recreational facilities, etc.)
- High-quality affordable childcare
- Measures to support housing
- Bike and pedestrian safety
- Support for local non-profits
- Support for after-school programs, library services for families
- EV Charging Stations
- Wastewater improvements in the two villages to encourage new small business opportunities
- Assistance to small businesses as a result of lost revenue
- Community health services
- After-school programs and daycare opportunities
- Town library services and programs to assist families
- Funding for trail signs
Follow this link to read more about ARPA grants from Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, our regional planners.
On a related note
Our Planning Commission is helping the Selectboard apply for a Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant from FEMA for hazard mitigation. The grant includes project scoping for specific natural and constructed structures. The road crew is especially involved in identifying top concerns.