Now that President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan stimulus relief bill on Thursday afternoon, March 11, Wilton will receive a taste of CT’s $10 billion slice of the overall $1.9 trillion pie.
Officials have confirmed that Wilton’s allocation will total approximately $5.3 million. Of that total, it’s broken down in a few ways:
- Money coming directly to the town amounts to a total of $2,674,057
- Of that amount, $863,000 is earmarked for education funding
- The town will receive $1,811,057 meant for non-education spending
- In addition, money will be distributed to each county and divided according to population. Of the $182,950,000 headed Fairfield County’s way, Wilton will receive approximately $3.5 million.
First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said that additional details are still forthcoming, but she received an update from Congressman Jim Himes, who joined today’s WestCOG meeting to share information–specifically details of the Town and BOE funding under the American Rescue Plan.
The estimated Town grant of $5.3 million will be paid out in two installments, the breakdown of the installments is not yet known. The first installment is to be sent to the State within 60 days of the signing for disbursement within 30 days. The second installment will be 12 months later.
Himes provided a list of spending the town will be allowed to make, according to Vanderslice:
- not otherwise reimbursed COVID-19 related expenses
- replacement of lost revenue because of COVID
- overtime premium for essential workers up to $13 per hour
The specific details for these allowable uses and any other restrictions are expected to be received within 90 days.
Vanderslice said that “the monies specifically can’t be used to provide tax relief or fund pension obligations.”
So how can Wilton apply the funds?
“A large number of municipalities within WestCOG, including Wilton, are in some stage of replacing the public safety radio system used by police, fire, EMS and DPW. The question was asked whether the replacement would qualify. If so, that would save Wilton taxpayers approximately $250,000 per year over the next 10 years,” Vanderslice explained.
Will the relief money provide any immediate benefit for the current budget process?
“The Board of Selectmen will end the year favorable to budget. We do expect some FY2021 COVID-19 expenses to qualify, which will increase the amount of funds returned to the General Fund and available to the Board of Finance to reduce the mill rate,” Vanderslice said.
The FY2022 budget also includes the need to fund a consultant to explore improved broadband and cell service. “There is a possibility that may instead be funded by the grant,” Vanderslice noted.
Vanderslice said that Himes also shared that the plan includes grants specific to restaurants to support payroll, rent and legitimate operating expenses. “We very much hope Wilton restaurants will be grant recipients under that program,” she said, adding that there will be more details to follow about the program in the coming days.
Of note, the money headed to CT municipalities does not include payments that will be headed to eligible residents directly.