The Chestertown Town Council voted 3-1 Monday to form a task force to decide how the town will spend its $4.2 million share of the $589 million headed to Maryland municipalities under the American Rescue Plan Act that passed on March 11.
The task force was introduced by Ward 2 Councilman Tom Herz to help town staff understand the guidelines, prioritize and vet funding requests and streamline the process for individuals and entities to apply for the money.
The task force will consist of 10 voting members, two selected by each council member, and three non-voting members selected by Chestertown Town Manager Bill Ingersoll.
Ingersoll has so far selected two members from Kent County government: Kent Economic Development Director Jamie Williams and Kent Information and Technology Director Scott Boone.
Council members have yet to select their members for the task force.
Mayor David Foster made clear that any recommendations of the task force are “advisory” only and subject to approval of the council.
“It’s not that we take it or leave it in terms of recommendations they make,” Foster affirmed. “We reserve the right as council members…to vote yea or nay.”
Under the ARPA, the Treasury Department has 60 days from March 11 to disperse the funding to the state; by May 11. The state then has 30 days to forward the funds to the municipalities.
The payments come in two equal disbursements, with the second disbursement available a year after the first one is paid.
The money can be used to help households, businesses and nonprofits. The money can also be used for investment in water and sewer upgrades and broadband expansion.
Total allocations to municipalities in Kent County under ARPA:
Rock Hall: $1,064,805
Kent County Government will receive $3,766,777