How Should Riverhead Spend Almost $ 3.7 Million in Federal Coronavirus Relief Aid? City officials reflect on options


Riverhead Town will use more than $ 3.6 million in federal coronavirus relief assistance to strengthen infrastructure, offset lost government revenue, and support nonprofits and businesses that struggled during the pandemic, whether the recommendations of city employees are adopted by city council.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $ 1.9 billion federal stimulus package promulgated by President Joe Biden on March 11, included $ 360 billion in direct aid to state and local governments. Riverhead will receive $ 3,671,320 distributed to the city by New York State over two years.

Most of the money – $ 2 million – would go towards the construction by the Riverhead Water District of a new water storage facility at Wading River. The increase in storage capacity is needed due to the increased demand for the district’s water supply, especially during peak demand periods, officials said.

The addition of the storage tank would allow the city to have enough reserves to stop buying water from the Suffolk County Water Authority, said Deputy Prosecutor Annemarie Prudenti, who drafted the plan with the administrator. from Community Development Dawn Thomas and Financial Administrator William Rothaar.

“Anything that improves our infrastructure is going to help us in the future, not just this year,” Rothaar said.

Another infrastructure issue for the city covered by the plan is the Cranberry Street sub-collection system of the Riverhead Sewer District, which connects the wastewater to the treatment plant from three sub-collection systems serving major areas – Highway 58, Peconic Bay Medical Center and the three schools in Riverhead off Osborn Avenue. . The sewer lines are original clay pipes and are deteriorating and rotting, as recommended, which calls for an allocation of $ 210,000 for the inspection, cleaning and corrective actions of the main line.

The sum of $ 750,000 would be used to “replace” the revenue lost to the municipal government due to the pandemic. The report states that $ 1.8 million in revenue was lost due to a reduction in various fees and aids.

Some of the money would go to parks and recreation projects, with $ 50,000 allocated to improve the Enterprise Park walking trail in Calverton, $ 30,000 for the Stotzky Park walking trail and $ 150,000 to add lights. at two fields Stotzky Park.

An additional $ 150,000 would go to support businesses and nonprofits “related to the arts, entertainment, recreation and hospitality” that have suffered a negative economic impact from COVID-19. The hospitality and arts industry was hit hard during the pandemic, with several performing arts centers, including the Suffolk Theater, closed for more than a year.

Other funds allocated under the plan include $ 100,000 for economic impact programs that serve people with disabilities, $ 125,000 to reimburse the city for costs incurred throughout the coronavirus crisis for cleaning supplies and equipment for operations out of town; and $ 110.00 for hiring a code enforcement officer.

Prudenti said the guiding principles for the allocation of funds are extremely strict and the city must be careful to choose reliable outside organizations to distribute to, otherwise it may have to reimburse the money. The process for businesses to receive the funding will be similar to the Community Development Block Grant program, which has been described as an intensive application and decision process involving a lot of paperwork.

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