Milton officials are making their lists and checking them twice when it comes to capital improvement projects that can be undertaken when the town receives federal stimulus funds.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, commonly referred to as the COVID relief bill, was signed by President Joe Biden on March 11. Part of the bill includes $130.2 billion in aid to local governments, split evenly between counties and municipalities. Allocation will be determined by population, although the exact amount Milton will receive is not yet known.
Mayor Ted Kanakos said he thinks the amount could come in over $1 million. He said the money will come through the state and is earmarked for infrastructure.
Knowing they are about to come into some money, with an ongoing campaign to improve town infrastructure, town officials have begun pondering what that money could possibly be used toward.
The town’s recent concern has been improving its water infrastructure, having borrowed money from the state to install a new water main line at Wagamon’s West Shores, build a new well and treatment plant in Shipbuilder’s Village and build new water mains on Atlantic Street, Atlantic Avenue and Chestnut Street within the last two-and-a-half years.
Kanakos said water system improvements could be on the table, as the town tries to manage future growth. One of those projects, he said, would be a new well on land the town recently purchased on Federal Street next to the rail-trail. He said he’d also like to see improvements to the town’s boat slips adjacent to Milton Memorial Park. Kanakos said those slips make money for the town but are in poor condition currently.
The town’s water committee met April 14 and came up with a list of five priority projects for the town to tackle over the next seven years.
The top priority, as determined by the committee, working with Public Works Director Greg Wingo, is upgrades to the water treatment plant on Chandler Street. This is a long-delayed project, partly because of delays in building the new Shipbuilder’s Village plant. Wingo said he wanted to wait to tackle the Chandler Street plant until the Shipbuilder’s plant is completed. The plan would be to use the systems and technology of the two plants. Wingo has said improvements to the Chandler Street plant would likely include an expansion of the facility itself.
The second priority project is a new well on Federal Street, and third would be a new maintenance building for the public works department. The final two projects are new water main taps on Walnut Street and Mill Street, and then a new water tower at Federal Street. The list of priorities will be presented by Water Committee Chairman Jack Bushey to town council, likely at the council's Monday, May 3 meeting.