Warsaw received the first half of the $1.5 million in funding allotted for the town from the American Rescue Plan, and town manager Joseph Quesenberry drafted a proposed budget that invests most of the money into infrastructure projects.
His plan calls for the town to use $200,000 from the first tranche to cover half of its required match for the VDOT TAP grant that will be used to replace and add sidewalks along Rt. 360.
Another $150,000 will be used for a remote water meter reading system and $90,500 will go toward replacing the water line along Rt. 360.
Quesenberry’s plan also calls for the town to use a portion of the funding for ADA-compliant playground equipment, paving the parking at The Bounds and meeting the matching requirement for the grant to build a community/farmers’ market.
When the town receives the second $770,000 tranche, under Quensberry’s proposal it will be almost wholly consumed by three projects: the second $200,000 payment for the sidewalks, $250,000 for well replacement, and about $271,000 for the engineering and construction of an outdoor amphitheater next to The Bounds.
When Warsaw received federal funds from the CARES Act, the town spent a significant portion on public aid programs, such as free meals and covering town residents’ utility bills.
“We went out on a limb to help the residents and businesses before we even got the CARES Act money. I’m glad we did. And we would do it again,” Quesenberry explained. “But given that the American Rescue Plan is providing such a substantial amount of money, we’re going to try to knock out some of these big projects that will benefit the community long-term,” he added.
Still, his proposed budget does call for passing along some of the money to the people, including Covid bonuses of $1,000 for full-time employees and $500 for part-timers as well as a $25,000 contribution toward another program like County Bucks, which offered citizens vouchers to spend at local businesses. Richmond County administrator Morgan Quicke is hoping to relaunch that effort and run it for at least two years and possibly three.
Warsaw Town Council is scheduled to have a budget work session for the American Rescue Plan funds Thursday ahead of its monthly meeting where the matter is also likely to be discussed.