Select Board allocates $165K in COVID relief money for two projects

The Select Board approved $165,200 in COVID relief dollars from the federal government, known as American Rescue Plan Act funds, to hire a financial consultant and an engineering firm to design infrastructure improvements for Redd’s Pond.

 The Select Board on Aug. 16 approved the latest round of projects to be funded with COVID relief funds. CURRENT PHOTO / WILLIAM J. DOWD

A $65,200 allocation will be used to hire a certified public accountant consultant or firm to assist the town and schools in developing a new catalog of account names, known as a “chart of accounts,” used to categorize transactions and keep the financial history organized. The consultant recommends updating the current system for better transparency and longevity of financial record-keeping. The updated chart will also make transitioning to new financial software easier.

The other approved project is for Redd’s Pond improvements, with a budget of $100,000. The money will be used for design, permitting and construction preparation, among other costs. The allocation comes on the heels of state Rep. Jenny Armini securing an additional $25,000 in the FY 24 state budget for the project. The funds will make the pond shovel-ready and provide an accurate cost estimate for permanent reconstruction or repairs, Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer told the Select Board.

Following these approvals, the total ARPA funds for Marblehead stand at $6.14 million. With previous approvals totaling $5.18 million, the remaining balance is now $803,385.

Earlier this summer, the Select Board approved spending $2.4 million in pandemic relief funds for projects, including modernizing financial software, expanding the municipal fiber network and making accessibility upgrades along the Marblehead Rail Trail.

The largest allocation of $1.43 million will replace two aging pedestrian bridges over the Forest River near the Lead Mills Conservation Area.

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