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Middletown launches website to apply for COVID funds

MIDDLETOWN — The city has set up a web page for business and property owners to apply for a share of the $20 million in federal relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The city’s dispensation is split between general government operations ($12 million) and the Board of Education ($8 million).

The funds are being given to municipalities to help deliver direct economic relief amid the ongoing COVID pandemic, officials say.

The Middletown Common Council approved $2.75 million last month for overhauls to its water and sewer systems.

There are a few stipulations on how the grants can be used. Mayor Ben Florsheim has said half of the city’s portion will go to infrastructure needs. These include broadband, Director of Economic and Community Development Joseph Samolis said at last week’s Downtown Business District meeting.

Chief Engineer Joseph Fazzino said at the same meeting that the department is soliciting a proposal for design work from the engineering and architecture firm Prime AE, and he has submitted a report on the design and construction needs to the Water Pollution Control Authority.


A contract and purchase order for water and sewer work is pending review, General Counsel Brig Smith reported at the Jan. 12 task force meeting.

In addition, Middlesex County was given approximately $8.9 million in federal funding. Florsheim said last month that the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments was in the process of deciding how it should be spent.

Samolis said there are three other main conditions on using ARPA money: Revenue replacement, premium pay (additional compensation), economic impacts and public health issues associated with the pandemic.

“You could easily make an argument — for businesses and property owners — that have not had the capital,” Samolis said. For example, landlords may have not received rent payments from tenants due to the pandemic, he added.

The Common Council formed a city American Rescue Plan ACT Task Force in October. It consists of about 15 people, including community members, city staff and council members.

In the near future, Middletown will offer workshops on the uses of ARPA funding, as well as statutory requirements associated with the allocation of funds, the city website says.

Once an application is received, it will be reviewed for completeness and eligibility. Eligibility will be determined by ARPA federal guidance. The application will then be forwarded by the ARPA committee for review and recommendation.

The review committee will evaluate each application using this criteria: Number of people impacted, urgency of the proposal, readiness to proceed, budget/funding and project/agency feasibility, the site said.

The final recommendation by the ARPA committee will be forwarded to councilors for a final determination. If approved, the entity granted funding will need to comply with all, federal/state/local guidelines.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

https://www.middletownpress.com/news/coronavirus/article/Middletown-launches-website-to-apply-for-COVID-16817320.php