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Elected Officials Workshop Webinar sponsored by Maine Municipal Association – 6/24/21
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The U.S. Treasury Department has issued new guidelines for municipalities and other entities in order to assure compliance in seeking federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act, known as ARPA. MMA recommends that members take the time to look at this 33-page guide book – released on Thursday – before proceeding with ARPA funding requests.
The Maine Broadband Coalition is producing and delivering workshops to foster informed, coordinated regional broadband investments, in order to make the most out of federal funds available through the American Rescue Plan Act. A special kickoff to this effort will be held on Friday, June 25, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Maine Municipal Association is among the co-sponsors of this effort.
Gov. Janet Mills today said Maine’s State of Civil Emergency, in place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic 15 months ago, will end on June 30. The primary remaining recommendation will be that unvaccinated Mainers continue to wear face coverings indoors. From nearly the beginning, Maine has been among the top states in the U.S. in responding to the pandemic. As of today, more than 73% of Mainers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 65% have received final doses, which ranks Maine fourth in the U.S. Maine also recorded the fourth-lowest per capita death rate due to COVID-19.
Our Legal Services Department at the Maine Municipal Association today released a nine-page guide for towns and cities regarding the background, details and how to comply with the American Rescue Plan Act. The document is called, “American Rescue Plan: Considerations for Municipalities.” The document explores issues such as local approvals, eligible uses and timing regarding fund availability, among many others.
The nationwide search for a new executive director at the Maine Municipal Association ended with the appointment of a well-known, high-profile municipal leader from one of Maine’s largest cities. Catherine “Cathy” Conlow, who has served as city manager in Bangor since 2011, and as Orono town manager prior to that, was the unanimous choice to head the organization starting in August 2021, according to James Gardner, Jr., the president of MMA’s 12-member Executive Committee and manager in the Town of Easton.
The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee will hold an important hearing on Wednesday, June 9, starting at 3 p.m. regarding how the state plans to distribute $992 million in American Rescue Program Act funds, the details of which are critically important to Maine towns and cities. MMA’s State & Federal Relations staff encourages members to participate by submitting written testimony to the committee or by registering to provide remote testimony during the hearing.
The National League of Cities today posted updates aimed at helping local leaders understand the American Rescue Program Act and resources for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and various responses that local and state governments had to direct. Also, yesterday the NLC, Maine Municipal Association and Portland Council of Governments hosted a 90-minute webinar on this topic. A recording of that webinar is available in the MMA Video Training Library.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is seeking initial proposals for a new round of competitive grants from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program, which TNC administers on behalf of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Over $7.4 million will be available for award in 2021 for those seeking to restore and protect wetlands, streams, riparian areas and significant wildlife habitat in Maine. Funding is available throughout the state. Coastal wetland projects are strongly encouraged this year, as well as wetland restoration and enhancement projects. Municipalities, public agencies, tribes and non-profit conservation organizations are eligible for funding and are encouraged to submit a letter of intent. To be considered for funding, all letters of Intent must be submitted online by 5 p.m., Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
Several communities in western Maine are working together to increase awareness about the important of quality broadband internet service in their part of rural Maine. To that end, the Maine West Broadband Summit will be held on Friday, June 4, starting at 8:30 a.m. and concluding at 10 a.m. The event will explore funding, public bond measures, WiFi hot spots – and more.
The U.S. Treasury Department late Monday released a complete list of so-called "non-entitlement" municipalities in Maine and nationally, showing what the vast majority of towns and cities are in line to receive -- if they can show they've met certain requirements -- under ARPA. In addition, the National League of Cities and Maine Municipal Association today are promoting many tools that can help communities understand the Act and how it works. Finally, an important webinar on ARPA is being scheduled by MMA, in conjunction with the NLC and Portland Council of Governments, for June 2.
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