FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Strategic Initiatives and Financial Oversight Committee is hosting a summit on Tuesday, June 22 on the American Rescue, federal funding, coming to the City.
The City is expected to receive almost $28 million in funding.
The summit is at 5 p.m. in the Blumer Room at the Memorial Building. The public an attend or the public can watch remotely via Zoom and Facebook Live on the city page.
Mayor Yvonne Spicer has been invited to attend as well as members of the City’s legislative branch of government, the City Council, and members of the School Committee.
“It is our hope we can get these 3 bodies on the same page regarding the process of distribution and where the funding should be directed,” said Framingham Strategic Initiatives and Financial Oversight Committee (SIFOC) Vice Chair Mary Kate Feeney.
Feeney, SIFOC Chair David Mawhinney and SIFOC member Joel Francis organized the summit. Mawhinney will chair the June 22 summit.
Invited to participate were Mayor Spicer, outgoing CFO Mary Ellen Kelley, Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay, Framingham Public Schools Finance Director Lincoln Lynch IV, City Council Chair George King, and School Committee Chair Adam Freudberg.
Also expected to participate is School Committee Finance subcommittee chair Geoffrey Epstein, City Council Finance Subcommittee Chair Adam Steiner, and School Committee Facilities Chair Scott Wadland.
“The ARPA funds are a once in a generation chance for Framingham to invest in its future and complete projects that will set the community up for a more successful recovery from the pandemic. This process requires input from everyone,” said Feeney.
The ARPA allows communities to use their funds “to respond to the public health emergency with respect to [COVID-19] or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.”
The Spicer administration plans to use some of its American Rescue federal funds to offset a huge deficit in the City of Framingham’s water & sewer enterprise funds.
Even with the federal fund bailout, the Spicer administration is proposing a 9.7% rate hike in water & sewer rates. The public hearing on the proposed rates is Monday, June 21.
City Council Chair King has said without the federal bail out, residents and business owners could be seeing a double-digit rate hike as large as 20%.
The Act specifies that the City of Framingham can use it for the following:
• Replace revenue lost or reduced as a result of the pandemic
• Restoration of municipal services
• Fund COVID 19-related costs
• Provide support to aid households and businesses impacted by the crisis
• Invest in economic recovery and renewal
• Fund investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure
The funds cannot be used for:
• Tax reductions or cuts
• Pension fund payments/deposit