West Chester Twp. commits entire $6.6M pandemic relief funds to stormwater infrastructure update

Editor’s Note: This story is part of a Journal-News series tracking how dozens of our area’s largest governments are spending hundreds of millions of dollars combined from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Visit our “Billions in COVID aid: Where it’s going” special section on our partner newspaper’s website at daytondailynews.com to see summaries from other communities.

West Chester Twp. has committed almost all of its $6.6 million in federal ARPA funds to update and improve the township’s storm water drainage infrastructure.

Spokesperson Barbara Wilson said there was little question of how officials would use ARPA funds once the township received guidelines on how the money could be spent.

“There has been a need in West Chester to manage costs of maturing stormwater infrastructure, so when this became a permitted use of ARPA the Township was pretty clear on where funding should be directed,” Wilson said.

Wilson described the overhaul as a “bunch” of small projects throughout the township to repair, replace or maintain stormwater pipes.

“[It’s something] we’ve been concerned about for a number of years,” Wilson said, adding that the influx of federal dollars will allow the township to address the need with minimal cost to local taxpayers.

“Addressing this aging infrastructure asset in the community may not specifically address problems created by the pandemic, but it falls within the permitted uses and relieves a burden that could have eventually fallen on the shoulders of taxpayers in a more direct way,” Wilson said.

The township still has $4.7 million in officially unencumbered funds, but Wilson said the funds are entirely verbally committed to the stormwater infrastructure project. Per federal guidelines, localities must allocate their ARPA funds before the end of 2024 and must fully spend their funds before 2026. Wilson said the township will complete their spending within that time frame.

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