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American Rescue Plan Act pours millions of dollars into MT

BELGRADE ARPA WEB.jpg
Posted at 9:21 AM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 11:28:02-04

BELGRADE — What do you think your city or town would do with over a million dollars? Well, let’s ask Belgrade.

“One area that we might do first is to put the money into another water well. The city’s growing, and some wells are getting older. It’s about a million dollars,” said Belgrade Mayor Russell Nelson.

Because of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Belgrade just received $1.2 million in federal relief money.

"It’s all COVID-related. The whole point of this money was to try to help America get through the pandemic impacts,” said Montana ARPA Program Director Mike Foster.

But Belgrade wasn’t the only recipient -- Bozeman, Butte, Ennis, Helena, Livingston, Manhattan, Virginia City, and West Yellowstone are a few of the almost 100 places around the state to receive funding.

“Cities and towns whose populations are less than 50,000 have to fill out an application form. They just have to fill that out, submit it, and then they get a check with a very quick turnaround time,” Foster said.

Bozeman was given over $6 million and Butte and Helena over $4 million. The money must meet certain criteria, but it’s ultimately left up to the towns and cities to decide.

“As long as they follow the guidelines provided by the federal government, we are perfectly happy with what they do with the money,” said Foster.

Belgrade is looking at several options.

“It’s about a million dollars to build a new well. That’s one area we could use the money. A second would be for water and sewer,” Nelson said.

And if you’re a Belgrade resident, a new well, or water and sewer stuff probably doesn’t seem that exciting, but in the end, it’ll save you money.

“We don’t have to ask the voters for the money. We’re still a very affordable water and sewer provider for our citizens," said Nelson.

Montana cities and towns have until June 30 to apply for ARPA funds.

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