WALLINGFORD — Work is continuing on the drafting of the applications businesses and nonprofits will fill out to seek a portion of the $13.1 million in federal pandemic aid the town is receiving.
The Town Council is currently operating on its summer schedule and is not scheduled to meet again until August 16. However, town Corporation Counsel Janice Small said her office is continuing to work with consulting firm UHY to complete the documents. She expects the work will be completed in time for the August meeting.
The applications would be used by businesses and nonprofits seeking American Rescue Plan Act funds the town will distribute. Half of the $13.1 million has been earmarked for businesses and nonprofits, split evenly between the two.
Council Vice Chairperson Thomas Laffin said holding a special meeting was discussed to move the process along faster, however, it’s unlikely a special meeting will be held because of scheduling conflicts.
“We tried having extra and special meetings and councilors were difficult about them or the results that would come out of them would all be rehashed to no end by those who didn’t attend the (special meeting),” he said in a message.
Councilor Jason Zandri said work cannot continue until the applications have been finalized and approved by the council. He would support a special meeting “if it’s necessary or if there’s a concern or a demand to get things moving along.”
The council also has to set a charge for the ARPA application review committee, created during the July 12 council meeting. The committee’s charge will define its goals and operating rules.
The council has been working on the applications since spring. In late May, some councilors said they wanted stronger language that gives preference to businesses seeking funds to recover from the pandemic — such as catching up on rent or making capital investments — as opposed to replenishing lost revenue.
The council gave further guidance during the June 28 meeting, when it voted to limit the maximum number of employees an applying business can have at 60 and to capped awards at $25,000. The council also voted to limit nonprofits to grants that would support residents — rather than both businesses and residents.
Councilors also discussed the creation of a rubric to score the applications and stronger ethics provisions.