Trustees discuss potential uses for ARPA funds

by Dan Holland

March 3 township trustees meeting and virtual work session

Richfield Township trustees discussed potential uses of American Rescue Plan Act funds that the township received in 2021 and will receive in 2022. The total amount coming to the township is $262,296. The federal government has parameters for usage of those funds.

The Richfield Joint Recreation District board has requested $20,000 of the township’s allotted funds to be put toward installation of a new HVAC system at the Lodge at Richfield Heritage Preserve. The building, which is available to rent, has no air conditioning.

Richfield Village contributed $30,000 to the RJRD from its ARPA allocation in January.

“I think we need to take a good look at the RJRD request,” said Trustee Don Laubacher, who is the liaison to RJRD. “One of the main reasons for the ARPA money is to replace lost revenue. It’s clear to me that they really can’t rent that lodge [with no air conditioning], and so there seems to be a case of lost revenue there.”

Trustee chairperson Janet Jankura said Township Administrator Mindy Lott and Service Department Foreman Jerry Schall compiled a list of potential projects the ARPA funds could be used for. One idea is to install a backup generator for the administrative and service department buildings.

 “A generator would be in the $30,000-$40,000 range for the whole building,” said Lott. “It could potentially be an allowable use of ARPA funds.”

Lott said another option could include an upgrade of the township’s website.

“Our website could use an overhaul,” she said. “It’s pretty outdated. If we go that route, I would like to see us do a bit of rebranding as far as the township logo. We could also think about accepting payments through the website, which would be a lot more convenient for zoning fees and such.”

Laubacher suggested using approximately two-thirds of the funds to offset an expected cost increase for a yet-to-be negotiated waste hauling and recycling contract for 2023. The township is presently exercising its second and final extension year on a three-year contract with Rumpke.

“From what I’ve read, it seems that there will be a fairly sizable increase in that contract that is possible,” said Laubacher. “But I think we would do ourselves a disservice if we didn’t look more broadly than that.”

Further discussion of the topic will be taken up at a future work session.

Signage request

In response to a resident’s request at a prior meeting for an additional sign to read “no entrance to Best Buy” beneath the “no outlet” sign at Stubbins Road, Trustee Robert Luther said the problem of truck drivers being led incorrectly up Stubbins Road or Black Road via GPS to access the Best Buy distribution center has apparently been corrected.

“People should not get directed by GPS down those roads any longer, so I don’t think we need a specific sign concerning Best Buy installed there,” said Luther.

In other action, the trustees:

• Authorized a procedural audit by Charles E. Harris & Associates at a maximum total cost of $3,200.

• Approved a transfer of $15,000 from the general fund and $5,000 from the roads fund to the township’s health reimbursement account.

• Approved a $22,012 purchase of salt from Cargill.

• Approved applying for a $2,505 Community Recycling Access Grant.

• Heard a presentation from Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker and Brian Nelsen, chief of staff for the Summit County executive’s office, about potential future projects in the township related to the Summit County Surface Water Management District. ∞