Author: Don Obrien

Newtown Finance Committee Discusses American Rescue Plan Funds

NEWTOWN, PA — During the Newtown Township Finance Committee’s Tuesday night meeting, Newtown Township Supervisor Dennis Fisher went over the Committee’s plans to use funding from the American Rescue Plan Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which is a part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The plan was outlined in a slideshow he presented to the Committee, which was made in collaboration with Zelenkofske Axelrod, LLC., a CPA firm based in Jamison.

The presentation showed how the Township will be using money provided from the Fund, which will be used to support public health and to negate the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent unemployment.

The ARPA Fund would also work to replace public sector revenue loss, aid in water and sewer infrastructure, provide premium pay for essential workers in the area, and help to increase broadband infrastructure. The slideshow discussed what constitutes some as an “essential worker” and what makes them, and the businesses they work at, eligible for this aid.

According to Fisher’s presentation, the Interim Guidance for the Municipal Funding of the American Rescue Plan explains that the funds will “prioritize low and moderate income workers” who have been affected by the pandemic.

A written justification has to be submitted to the Treasury department if an individual receives more than 150% of the average wage for the state and/or county they work in, according to Fisher’s presentation.

All reports on expenditures related to ARPA funding that exceeds $50,000 will be due Oct. 31, 2021, and then annually after that, according to Fisher.

Fisher’s presentation also covered how the Township will be responding to the public health emergency brought on by the pandemic and the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

These include the expenditures related to the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund and the vaccination programs and sites in the county, which include the paying of staff, facilities costs, and information technology that will be used to combat the pandemic in the Township.
The Committee discussed plans to use aid from these funds to help local nonprofits bounce back from the business restrictions made during the pandemic.

Newtown Township Supervisor John Mack discussed the importance of the application process for eligibility and letting the nonprofits know what the money will be used for. Mack said that the Newtown Fire Association is the biggest nonprofit they support.

Fisher ended his presentation by discussing the further work the Committee will be doing with Zelenkofske Axelrod, LLC.

“I believe we will probably be working with, at least in the consortium, with this law firm to help us answer questions about what applies and what doesn’t and work through the regulations (…),” Fisher said.

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Oliver Bolt

Oliver Bolt

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