Rescue Plan Act funding a challenge for Lakeville

Jan 23, 2023

LAKEVILLE — Money from the American Rescue Plan Act is coming to town, and it is slated to be used on improvement projects throughout Lakeville.

But finding projects that fit the regulations for some of the funding could prove a challenge, Select Board members said at their Jan. 23 meeting.

The American Rescue Plan Act was passed in March 2021 to aid the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The federal government granted $1.2 million to Lakeville, which the town can spend at its own discretion on capital projects.

“That provides pretty broad flexibility in how we can use that money,” said Town Administrator Ari Sky. 

So far, Lakeville has allocated $314,785 of its federal government grant.

A total of $100,000 went to COVID response, $170,000 was tentatively allocated for renovations to Gamache Playground, and $44,785 was used for the Ted Williams Camp tennis court project.

The town is also eligible for $2 million from Plymouth County, which it has to apply for under stricter regulations. Money from the act can be used on projects involving infrastructure improvement related to broadband or water and sewer, or for the economic and public health responses to COVID.

Lakeville has applied for $686,500 in county funding for projects. 

Those projects include $332,800 in water projects and $183,700 for improvements to the old Town Hall restroom.

The town also applied for $170,000 in county funding for the Gamache Playground project. If the county money is approved for the playground, the town will not need to use federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. 

Finding additional projects to use the rest of the $2 million could be problematic given the regulations such projects have to adhere to, the Select Board agreed.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Select Board Member Richard LaCamera.

An added obstacle is the fact that American Rescue Plan Act funds cannot be used to subsidize ongoing projects.

The deadline for towns to incur funding related to the act is Dec. 31, 2024.