ARPA Funds May Boost Purcellville’s Utility Upgrade Efforts

Following input from a public online survey, the Purcellville Town Council is expected to devote most of its first-half allocation from the $10.6 million American Rescue Plan Act payment to speed planned infrastructure projects. 

According to a staff report prepared for the council’s July 13 meeting, more than 90% of respondents put the highest priority on “investing in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.” The survey had 175 responses, 86 of whom were verified as town voters.

While the survey showed levels of dissatisfaction with the town’s current broadband provider, Xfinity/Comcast, there’s no quick fix. The council has directed the staff to issue a Request for Information solicitation to contractors seeking options to expand broadband to all town residents, but the feasibility and the cost of such an undertaking remain unknown.

However, the town has a long list of water and sewer projects in its construction plans. In the staff’s draft plan for the first $5.7 million allocation of the federal funds those projects would get a big boost. 

Among the recommended projects are $1.7 million for a new water storage tank, $880,000 to replace the cast iron water mains from the town reservoir to the treatment plant and from the plant to the town distribution system, $750,000 to line 10,000 feet of sewer lines to address infiltration and inflow problems, $500,000 to improve stormwater management at the Hirst Farm Pond, and $225,000 to modernize 1,000 water meters. The list also includes $390,000 to cover the cost of a staff member to manage the work, expected to take six years to complete. 

Another $500,000 is proposed to make up for town revenue losses during the pandemic, $200,000 would be earmarked to cover salary cost of essential town workers in the Public Works and Police departments, and $50,000 would go to a utility assistance fund.

While the Town Council plans to adopt a budget amendment to formally incorporate the $5,279,922 federal allocation, the options for spending the money are planned only as a discussion item on Tuesday night’s meeting agenda.

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