More resident feedback sought for distribution of relief funds in Prospect

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Prospect Town Hall. Republican-American Archives

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

PROSPECT — The town’s American Rescue Plan Act funds subcommittee is seeking more responses from residents for its ARPA survey before the Feb. 28 deadline.

The town received $1.4 million of its total $2.8 million federal package in June. The subcommittee, comprised of Town Council members Theresa C. Graveline, Kathryn Zandri, Megan Patchkofsky and Michael Palmerie Jr., put together the ARPA survey to get public feedback on how to spend the funds but have only received just over 100 responses so far.

The subcommittee will hold a public information session March 24 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall to give residents an overview of allowable uses of ARPA funds and solicit their input, said Graveline, the subcommittee chairwoman.

“We would definitely like to encourage you all to spread the word and get people to take the survey,” Graveline said at the meeting.

The committee intends to hold one or two public sessions, she noted.

Town Council member Patricia S. Geary said the meetings are “a good idea.”

Federal guidelines for spending the money include supporting public health expenditures, addressing negative economic impacts caused by the pandemic, replacing lost public revenue, providing premium pay for essential workers, and investing in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury website.

Town officials have placed the survey at Town Hall, Senior Center, Community Center, LaBonne’s Market, and local banks and restaurants. The survey also can be found at townofprospect.org. Residents can put the survey in the ARPA survey drop box at the rear of Town Hall or mail it to Town Hall.

Zandri said she isn’t sure why the response hasn’t been greater.

“People are telling me other people have no idea about the surveys,” she said. “The goal is to get it in front of people as much as possible so we can have a broad sampling of Prospect’s public opinion on how best to use the funds to benefit the residents and taxpayers of Prospect.”

Graveline said, “I hope people respond more than they have to this date and I think they will. It matters to hear from the public. It matters very much to the Town Council to weigh in on this survey.”