Milford lists $19 million COVID relief fund spending

Milford City Hall, Spring 2021

Milford City Hall, Spring 2021

Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — Milford is spending a little more than $19 million for different projects, all being funded through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The city still has about $9.5 million left for pending projects.

“The ARPA working group met weekly to review the projects proposed by the community, local organizations and by municipal employees,” said Justin Rosen, city chief of staff. “The working group adopted evaluation criteria for the proposed projects to ensure uniformity from proposal to approval.”

Rosen said each submission was checked against the treasury’s final rule to certify that the projects were eligible under the ARPA guidelines and regulations.

The $19 million approved funding falls under different categories, including public health, community, parks and recreation, infrastructure, municipal improvements and administrative cost.

Public health received $2.6 million for projects. The projects include $66,500 for police department safety equipment for the procurement and issue Millennium Gas Masks and filler/canisters to all sworn personnel for protection.

It also includes $520,000 for a pilot program that adds licensed clinical social workers to the police department. They are to provide social services to assist with triage calls for service and develop intervention strategies to address needs during and post-incident.

A funding project directly contributed to the pandemic is $875,000 for municipal remote capabilities.

Some $4 million in funding for projects directly tailored to the Milford community were also approved.

Among these projects are the $500,000 COVID Assistance Grant Program established to provide one-time financial assistance to eligible Milford small businesses and non-profit organizations adversely impacted by the pandemic and $1 million for Milford Public Schools HVAC system improvements.

Another $1.5 million has been set aside to remediate and secure the building that was previously St. Gabriel’s School on Tudor Road. $800,000 for the summer playground program, a six-week summer program through 2024 and $200,000 for library upgrades.

“The funds must be used before Dec. 31, 2024. However, for certain infrastructure projects, funds must be obligated before Dec. 31, 2024, with project completion and fund expenditure no later than Dec. 31, 2026,” Rosen said.

Parks and recreation received $1.5 million in approved funding for projects. Including $475,000 for Eisenhower Park upgrades, $420,000 for the Lisman Landing Resiliency project, improving and expanding the kayak and dingy storage located at the city boat ramp. It also includes $109,000 enhancements at Grove Circle Playground and more.

The category that received the most funding was infrastructure, with $7.4 million approved for projects. The three projects funded are all big-ticket items. $3.5 million to update the city’s sewer pump station standby generators and controls and replace some pump station buildings that have deteriorated. $2.4 million for municipal buildings broadband and security updates that will replace building data cabling and fiber where needed and prove wireless access where possible. $1.5 million to replace emergency generators because the city’s wastewater generators are exercised under monthly full load. However, the older generators fail during extended power outages due to their old age.

“The city has planned to use the funding for projects that help combat the public health emergency, assist the Milford community, improve our outdoor spaces, enhance our city’s wastewater and broadband infrastructure, as well as those that upgrade or improve our municipal functions,” said Rosen.

The $2.4 million approved for municipal improvements projects includes $1.3 million for police body-worn cameras five-year contract extension with Axon Tasers, Body Worn Cameras and Evidence.com. It also includes $409,689.80 for 2021 fiscal year general fund deficits, $250,000 for electric city vehicles and charging stations, $210,000 for police patrol vehicles and more.

The final category, administrative costs, received $1.2 million in approved funding for multiple positions to administer the ARPA funding. $400,000 for the special projects manager hired to organize all aspects of the implementation of ARPA funds.

The funding will also be used to fund temporary positions, including $300,000 for a project manager, $200,000 for a project assistant and $300,000 for a financial analyst.

The last $5,000 is for fringe benefits costs for ARPA-funded positions.