By Carol Vaughn —
Onancock is set to receive $1.1 million in federal money as result of the American Rescue Plan Act.
On March 11, President Biden signed the act into law. The $1.9 trillion package is intended to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including public health and economic impacts.
The state must distribute funds to towns within 30 days of when it receives the money from the federal government, Town Manager Matt Spuck told the Town Council at the May 24 meeting.
The town should receive the first of two equal payments within the next 90 days or so.
The government recently issued guidelines for how the money may be used.
The money must be obligated for use by December 31, 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.
“I know that council wants to have, and I believe you should have, a town hall-type meeting to hear from local businesses and local residents about how they believe it would be best used,” Spuck said.
“I would like for us to put a thoughtful plan together so we can say over the next two years, these are the ways that we are going to spend these monies,” he said.
“I would like to hear from the public about any goals,” said Mayor Fletcher Fosque.
The town hall meeting will be held Monday, June 7, at 6 p.m. at the town hall.
Financial Policy Approved
The council approved a written financial policy for the town. The policy may be viewed in the meeting packet at https://www.onancock.com/sites/default/files/fileattachments/town_council/meeting/8101/2021-05-24_tc_agenda_packet.pdf
The council approved a special use permit for a homestay, or short-term rental, at 4 Sturgis Street.
Two of the three bedrooms will be used for homestay guests, according to the application.
No one spoke at a public hearing about the permit application.
Boat Ramp Improvements
A project to improve the Onancock boat ramp is underway, after delays in getting required permits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional delays resulted after the contractor discovered the ramp surface covered an older ramp which needed to be removed and the existing sheet piling was rusted and rotted to the point where it could not be pulled out — it had to be cut and removed in pieces.
“There is no doubt that this project has gone slower and began later than we had hoped, but the quality of the work is exceptional, and Onancock has been trying to get this project completed for along time,” Spuck said in his Town Manager’s report.
Delinquent Utility Accounts
There are 21 water accounts delinquent by over 90 days in town, with an average balance of $432, even after the town distributed more than $21,000 in grant funds and dedicated more than $20,000 in CARES Act funds to help residents pay overdue utility bills.