The Dukes County Commission approved application documents for the much-awaited distribution of American Rescue Plan Act 2021 (ARPA) funds at its special commission meeting on Wednesday afternoon. The thoroughly drafted documents were generated in order to determine how to manage and distribute more than $3 million of federal funds allotted to the county via ARPA — the purpose being to offer relief to eligible local and state organizations in order to assist communities that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thank you all so very much for all of your hard work you’ve done to make this happen. I look forward to moving things forward here,” said commission chair Christine Todd, referring to finalizing approvals of applicants and getting the checks sent out.
The two applications waiting for consideration, which will receive the final application documents, are the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, requesting financial relief for wastewater and enhancement of septic systems, respectively. The airport has recently increased the amount requested.
“If the airport wants to ask for more money, that’s OK,” said commissioner Leon Brathwaite. “If you’re going to reopen the process for the airport to apply for more money, I think we need to reopen the process for everybody.” Brathwaite added, “I would hope that as you continue looking [for recipients], that at some point you will find a way to do something for the senior citizens on the Island.”
Commissioner John Cahill responded that it would be preferable to consider changes only to the existing applicants.
Todd suggested waiting for a recommendation from the review committee to consider opening up applications before decisions are made.
A third application, by Island Health Care, requesting reimbursement for COVID-19 testing equipment has been withdrawn by IHC CEO Cynthia Mitchell, as she “has obtained funds through another federal source,” Cahill said.