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ARPA discussion: How Should Randolph Spend $20.9 million?

    Jesse's priorities for Randolph's ARPA funding (summary):
  1. $7.5 million for Drinking Water
  2. $7.5 million for the Hiring Crisis and pandemic recovery
  3. $4 million for Local Transportation
  4. $1 million for Outdoor Recreation

ARPA discussion: How Should Randolph Spend $20.9 million?

The Town has $20.9 million currently available in COVID relief funds. This document proposes how to allocate that federal funding, with some recommended immediate expenditures and some over the course of the remainder of FY22. Some funding is intended to cover salary expenses through FY23 for new staff.

This document is intended as a framework for discussion at the special Town Council meeting of Jan. 31, 2022. These priorities are only the opinion of Councilor Gordon as a framework for discussion. Other Councilors might present their own priorities as a starting point, as might the Town Manager.

Each item indicates how the proposal is tied to COVID relief. The basic language of ARPA is flexible and generalized: "The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides a substantial infusion of resources to eligible state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to help turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery."

Priority 1: $7.5 million for Drinking Water

    ARPA allows funding for “necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.” Randolph has immediate and long-term needs in this area:

  • 1A. $5 million set aside for the new water treatment plant, to allow zero increase in water bills in FY23.

  • 1B. $0.5 million to investigate PFAS sources immediately, and install interim PFAS filters as soon as possible.

  • 1C. $2 million to purchase equipment to replace “dead-end water mains” with looped pipes, to reduce brown water.

Priority 2: $7.5 million for the Hiring Crisis and pandemic recovery

    The pandemic has made hiring new staff difficult, and made retaining existing staff challenging too. The Town needs additional new staff to invest in our recovery from the pandemic and our future growth. One-time hiring bonuses (as opposed to salary increases for new positions) can move us past our immediate needs without burdening future years’ budgets. Hiring bonuses to be paid after 6 months on the job. 2D/2E/2F address other pandemic-based crises with one-time spending.

  • 2A. $2 million allocated for advertising and recruiting for the following new Town staff positions: Fire Chief; Assistant Town Manager; Treasurer/Collector; Hiring and Staff Retention Manager; Business Development Officer; three new DPW staff positions (2B above); four new Randolph van drivers (2C above).

  • 2B. $2 million allocated for existing staff to all get comparable retention bonuses at the end of 2022.

  • 2C. $0.5 million for the Randolph Public Schools to assist in the School Committee doing the same for teachers.

  • 2D. $1 million for a rent and mortgage relief fund: We passed a resolution on this last year -- Boston does it already.

  • 2E. $1 million for a “Revolving Fund” for loans to small business, to attract new businesses as we wind down from the pandemic; to be administered and publicized by the Business Development Officer in 2A.

  • 2F. $0.5 million for Resiliency Fund: COVID Benefit Navigator and for a childcare assistance fund

  • 2G. $0.5 million for re-opening RICC and public facilities: Convert community center back from vax site.

Priority 3: $1 million for Local Transportation

    With more residents working from home during the pandemic, ARPA allows funding “to support the nation’s public transportation systems.”

  • 3A. $2 million to purchase equipment and fund several full street repaving projects, to increase our repaving rate.

  • 3B. $0.5 million to hire three new DPW staff for pothole repair and other work; to fund new salary through FY23.

  • 3C. $1.5 million to purchase vans and establish “Randolph Shuttle” routes to nearby transportation hubs (map below).

  • 3D. $1 million to immediately add traffic features -- sidewalks and traffic lights -- planned in early Traffic Study phases.

Priority 4: $1 million for Outdoor Recreation

    The Randolph Master Plan calls for better pedestrian access to parks; the pandemic makes improved outdoor recreation a necessity and also addresses mobility access as outlined in the Randolph Community Wellness Plan.

  • 4A. $0.5 million for a series of boardwalks (like at Powers Farm) for pedestrian access across swampy areas, allowing residents to walk to work or walk to nearby transit lines. For example, a boardwalk across the Great Bear Swamp would connect the Bittersweet apartments to the Patten Drive business area -- red dashed lines on map below.

  • 4B. $0.5 million for a series of parking places at existing parks that have limited pedestrian access, to replace “No Parking” and “No Dumping” signs. For example, where can one park to enter the South Randolph Conservation Area?

Committee to Elect Jesse Gordon, 52 West St, Randolph MA 02368

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