The Reading ARPA Advisory Committee (RAAC) meeting started off with a presentation from Town Engineer, Ryan Percival, on water and sewer infrastructure projects/capital improvement and ARPA requests. Town projects costs are roughly $10,234,415 with town funds at $8,750,000 resulting in an ARPA request of $1,484.415.39 for the difference. Projects include downtown water main improvements, Gazebo Circle Booster Station, and a Lead Service Removal Program throughout Reading.
Next was the premium pay model discussion. Tom Wise spoke through three models designed to allocate the ARPA funding to school, town staff, fire and police that worked through the pandemic period. The committee continued discussions on amounts allocated to water, premium pay, and other groups requesting funding.
First was a discussion and roll call vote to allocate $1 million of ARPA funding for the senior center project raided by Vice-Chair Mark Dockser. The vote did not pass 1-7.
The following recommendations will be made to the Select Board, and the corresponding votes:
$25k for the Reading Rotary Club passed 8-0
$4k for the Reading Garden Club passed 6-2
$4k for the First Congregational Church passed 6-2
$29k to Reading/North Reading Chamber passed 6-2
$900k to premium pay passed 5-3
$25k for senior center due diligence passed 7-1
$930,314 for water & sewer passed 8-0
Up next was Model 1-4 for workers premium pay, providing a variable to high contact employees, and a vote was taken and passed 8-0 to utilize the version 4 model. Next vote was to move to an allocation with model 4, with a plus & minus 25% differential based on pay (scaled model) passed 8-0.
Lastly, $500 per season for coaches reduced stipends passed 8-0.
The board plans to approve meeting minutes in a future session, as this is their last official meeting for the committee before being sun-set at the end of the month. Chair Marianne Downing will be working on a presentation to Town Meeting in November on behalf of the committee and will include allocation tables from all of the ARPA requests.
All of the votes and allocations above are still subject to the Select Board approving them at a future meeting, most likely on October 25th. The RAAC committee then adjourned at 11:00PM.