Exeter improves upon the town with remaining ARPA funds

(Rigo Moran)

Exeter City Council makes the most of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds by upgrading downtown lights, public facilities and making a parks master plan

EXETER – As the city tries to make the most of its funds, the American Rescue Plan Act has brought a sense of relief to the town’s most used facilities.

The city of Exeter met on June 13 to discuss how to spend the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding to benefit the town best. Exeter had $1.5 million left to put toward the general needs of the city so they can avoid relying on taxes. The city can look forward to new downtown lights, upgraded facilities and park improvements among other things.

“We tried to think of line items (when distributing the funds) – which could be things that are hard to find funding for – rather than pulling it out of our taxes that are collected here in the city,” city manager, Adam Ennis said.

With $1.5 million left in the ARPA funding to distribute, the city had to prioritize a number of projects that needed attention. According to Ennis many of the decorative street lights along the main roads downtown need to be fixed or replaced but were originally purchased from companies that are no longer in business. This can make fixing or replacing them costly. To avoid unnecessary costs the council chose to use $400,000 as a deposit in application for the clean California grant program.

If the city receives the grant, Exeter would be awarded an extra $4.5 million to put towards city projects including downtown’s street lights. The upgrades to the lights are estimated to cost around $700,000 which would leave $3.8 million for other projects.

One of the other main priorities for the ARPA funding was the police department and administrative buildings. There are six different facilities including the city hall that have problems with the thermostat.

“We’ve measured (in the summertime) temperatures of 85 degrees inside the offices, and in the wintertime down to 55 degrees,” Ennis said.

The buildings have wood siding that has deteriorated and is growing mold. The city put $400,000 to replace the siding with a material referred to as stucco to decrease the maintenance cost with a longer-lasting alternative.

Other small line items such as increased cybersecurity were added to the list of expenditures as well.

The council spent the first million which was designated in previous meetings on projects such as replacing trees, police radios, graffiti abatement and fixing the sewer system that was in need of constant maintenance. The ARPA funding now has about $100,000 left as a safeguard for projects that might cost more than expected.

Start typing and press Enter to search