How each RI town is spending ARPA money

The General Assembly has been under increasing pressure to start spending more than $1.1 billion in aid that Rhode Island has received under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Much less attention has been paid to the fact that individual towns and cities are also receiving a massive injection of federal funds — and many have yet to take advantage of the windfall.

The Providence Journal asked the state’s 39 municipalities about their plans for the money. Here’s a breakdown of what each is expected to receive, according to the office of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and what they’ve spent so far. 

Information on how funds have been spent or allocated was provided by officials in each city and town, except where indicated. 

Barrington

Total expected: $4.8 million

Total committed: $1.6 million

Where the money is going: $1,600,000 has been set aside to upgrade the East Providence Wastewater Treatment Facility in Riverside, which Barrington shares with East Providence. The two towns are splitting the cost.

Barrington is also spending $22,320.01 to replace its “archaic” website, which last underwent a major update in 2014. CivicPlus, a Kansas-based company that created municipal websites for South Kingstown and Westerly, will be designing the new site. 

What’s next: Barrington has set up a “virtual suggestion box” to get residents’ input on how to use the remaining money, and established an ad hoc committee to review those recommendations, according to Town Manager James Cunha. 

Ideas under consideration include sidewalk and streetlight improvements, and directing funds toward housing, parks and recreation, Cunha said.

Backyards of homes on Washington Street in Bristol are flooded after a recent storm. The town is using a large chunk of its ARPA funds to improve drainage throughout the town.

Bristol

Total expected: $6.55 million

Total committed: $6.5 million

Where the money is going: Bristol appears to be the only town in Rhode Island where virtually every dollar of the ARPA funding is already spoken for. The Town Council approved a list of projects recommended by individual department heads earlier this year, said Town Administrator Steve Contente.

Dealing with flooding is a major theme: An estimated $3,715,000 is going to Phase 2B of the Tanyard Brook project, an ongoing effort to address persistent flooding and drainage issues in a large swath of the town. Another $450,000 is going to improve drainage around Collins Street and Foxhill Avenue, which experience some of the worst flooding. 

Previous post Editorial, 11/26: Providing tools for small-business owners should continue | Editorial
Next post Debra Dunn, USAA: Women in Insurance Leadership 2021