First installment of American Rescue Plan funds brings $29.4 million to Vermont towns

Vermont

The first of two installments of American Rescue Plan Act money for pandemic relief is now in the state of Vermont’s hands.

It amounts to $29,394,122.50, and every penny is required to go out to Vermont communities in the next 30 days. They’ll also get the exact same amount again next year in a second installment.

More than 275 Vermont cities, towns and villages will get a piece of the ARPA money to replace lost revenue, support businesses and essential workers, and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

On the low end, the two installments for the Essex County town of Victory are $3,297.50 each. On the high end, there are nine communities where those dual payments will each be more than $500,000. Five of the nine — Colchester, Essex Town, Essex Junction Village, Milton and Williston — are in Chittenden County. Rutland City, Bennington, Brattleboro and Hartford are the other four.

However, Vermont’s two largest municipalities aren’t eligible for this share of ARPA money. Federal officials consider them large enough to apply to the Treasury Department on their own without needing the state to act as a go-between.

Jason Maulucci, press secretary for Gov. Phil Scott, wrote in an email on Thursday:

“Burlington and South Burlington were both eligible for direct disbursements from Treasury because of their status as ‘metropolitan cities’ as defined by the Housing and Community Development Act. ARPA excluded ‘metropolitan cities’ from the State’s distribution of local dollars. We have no information at this time as to whether they have certified or received funds.”

Federal records show Burlington as eligible for $18,857,481 from ARPA. However, in late June, the Burlington City Council unanimously passed a new budget on the understanding that the Queen City would have $27,000,000 to work with. South Burlington is shown to be eligible for $1,864,421.

ARPA also includes $121,202,550 for Vermont counties, but county governments don’t have as many responsibilities in the Green Mountain State as they do in most states. That means the Vermont county funds might end up going to municipalities instead. The U.S. Treasury would have to approve the shift, and state officials are still waiting for a decision.

The local ARPA dollars have to be spent by the end of 2026.

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