WATERVILLE — The City Council is scheduled Tuesday to discuss the process for spending $1.67 million in COVID-19 pandemic recovery funds that Waterville expects to receive from the federal government.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the basement of The Elm at 21 College Ave. Those wanting to watch a livestream of the meeting can do so by accessing a link on the city’s website — waterville-me.gov.

City Manager Steve Daly said Thursday the federal government has strict guidelines for how the city can spend funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, and the council plans to discuss that process.

“We can’t put it into the general fund to reduce taxes,” Daly said. “We have to use it for certain broad, generalized purposes, to help those economically affected by the COVID lockdown.”

He said Councilor Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4, plans to propose the council develop a process for how to earmark the funds, with wide-ranging purposes related to home improvements, rent, homelessness, medical professions and other needs. Daly said some city businesses have had to close because of the pandemic, while others have survived but might need help.

“I think it’s going to result in a community outreach by the council to help identify who really needs the help, and pass it through a system for how to help them out,” Daly said.


About $502 million is being made available to Maine municipalities and counties through American Rescue Plan Act funding. Local governments are already making plans to spend the money in a variety of ways, including bonuses for frontline employees who worked during the pandemic and infrastructure projects to improve water, sewer and broadband internet services.

In other matters, councilors are expected to consider renewing the city solicitor’s contract; signing a lease with The Elm to rent the basement space for $1,000 a month; referring to the Planning Board a proposal by the city planner and airport manager to add to the list of allowable uses in the airport district solar farms, so the city does not have to keep rezoning property for solar farms if they are proposed for that area; and waiving the bid process to allow the Police Department to buy a used vehicle from Central Maine Motors for undercover work and surveillance.

“There aren’t any other such vehicles of that caliber and price that are available in the state right now,” Daly said.

Daly said he also planned to share with the council a list of paving projects for next year — and some that could be done this year — so councilors have time to consider the list.

He said the council is also expected to discuss a proposal the city trade in forfeited firearms to a licensed firearms dealer, with gains from the trades going toward other firearms-related equipment, such as safety vests.

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