ARPA Funding Overview
Villages form the heart of Vermont’s rural communities, yet more than 200 villages lack community wastewater disposal systems, hampering revitalization. More than 100 Vermont villages do not have a public municipal water system. While many communities have explored municipal water and wastewater solutions in the past, most could not proceed with the projects because users couldn’t afford the new rates needed to cover the cost of the project.
However, $30 million in ARPA funding is now available to help municipalities develop or expand public drinking water systems and community wastewater disposal systems where this critical infrastructure is lacking. This grant funding will bridge the affordability gap, protect public health, increase affordable housing, support economic development and incentivize compact growth in Vermont’s designated villages and neighborhoods.
These ARPA funds will be used in a “co-funding” model with the State Revolving Loan Funds, USDA -Rural Development support, or locally available funding. Co-funding means that ARPA funding will be used to complement other funding sources to achieve affordability. The assistance will be primarily in the form of grants, but pending eligibility determination, may include refinancing for planning, design, land purchase, or construction of active as-of-yet completed projects.
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The funding will support up to 10 decentralized community wastewater disposal systems and/or public municipal water systems. Designated villages and neighborhoods, as ranked by the Priority System of the relevant Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds Intended Use Plan (IUP), are eligible for funding. Vermont’s Village Wastewater Initiative team will contact eligible municipalities to provide more information this funding opportunity.
ARPA funds will help disadvantaged communities address the public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and help protect them from future crises.
When a system is installed or upgraded, the debt payments are often spread equally over system users. However, rate payers living below the poverty level can experience unaffordable rate increases. ARPA funding will be structured to help low-income rate payers.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will prioritize inclusion and engagement with under-represented groups to advance environmental justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through design and delivery.
The State’s Village Water and Wastewater Initiative will support municipal consideration of village drinking water and wastewater solutions for economic growth and/or public health concerns. A toolkit is available online to guide interested parties in obtaining planning, engineering, and financing support.
Contact: Lynnette Claudon, Lynnette.firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-490-6226.