Brookfield trustees have started allocating American Rescue Plan Act funds.
The trustees on Aug. 1 passed resolutions to spend:
- Up to $35,000 to add mulch at the Jenny Junction playground in Brookfield Township Community Park, replace a cracked slide and replace picnic tables.
- Up to $10,000 to hire Rien Construction of Brookfield to replace the posts and rails at the gazebo in Brookfield Center, and run new electrical conduit and replace receptacles. Rien had given an estimate of $6,800 to replace the posts and rails when the Brookfield Township Historic Commission was seeking a grant from the Ohio History Connection, which turned down the request.
- Up to $7,000 to hire a company to trim roses and bushes and apply mulch on the green in Brookfield Center. The township road department cuts the grass in the center, but does not have time for landscaping, Trustee Ron Haun said, and some of the roses are dying from lack of care. He hopes this allocation will start an annual program of hiring a landscaper to work in the center twice a year.
The projects were reviewed by Baker, Dublikar, Beck, Wiley and Mathews of North Canton, the law firm hired by the trustees as counsel on ARPA projects. The firm conducts a preliminary review and makes recommendation on proposed projects, and then issues a written opinion if the township decides to go forward with a project, Trustee Dan Suttles said.
The trustees have stressed that the last thing they want is for the federal government to come back and tell them funds were spent improperly, which would mean the township general fund would be stuck with a major, unforeseen expense. The U.S. Department of the Treasury rule governing the spending of ARPA funds is 437 pages long.
The American Rescue Plan Act was one of a handful of federal laws that sent money to state and local governments to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brookfield has received $869,013 in ARPA funds. The money must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024 and spent by Dec. 31, 2026.
Trustee Mark Ferrara said he wants to use the ARPA funds “to make an impact in the township.”
“We want to make sure that that money is invested in the things that we normally could not fund through the general budget,” he said.
The trustees have talked about and received recommendations on other projects, and said they are open to citizens weighing in at meetings or contacting any of the trustees with ideas.