July 22, 2024 Donate

Dexter, Dexter Government

Scio Township is using ARPA funding for upgrades at the fire station and on road projects

Scio Township closed out 2023 by devoting American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to some important needs.

The Scio Township Board made a number of decisions at their Dec. 12 meeting related to using these special funds. The Sun Times News (STN) followed up with township supervisor Will Hathaway on the ARPA decisions.

Hathaway said there were multiple agenda items at the Dec. 12 meeting related to ARPA funding.

  1. There were consent agenda items to authorize the specific expenditures for Fire Station IT improvements, and other IT hardware and software expenses with previously approved ARPA funds. These items were approved.
  2. The balance of Township ARPA funds (approximately $500,000) were appropriated and authorized for 2024 local road improvements listed in an agreement with the Washtenaw County Road Commission. The Board approved this item.
  3. And the Board also authorized the submission of an application for an ARPA funded County grant for improvements to stormwater drainage culverts.

The fire station request involved the use of ARPA funds to upgrade the Fire Station network infrastructure. In his report to the board, Chris Bailey of the township’s Information Technology Department said this is in addition to the Scio Township ARPA funds approved for the Network Refresh this past fall.

Bailey said, “The current network infrastructure at the Fire Station is not in bad shape like the network infrastructure at Scio Township Hall is and the Fire Station equipment is not as old. The network infrastructure upgrades at Scio Township Hall will create a disparity between the two locations and I would like to have both locations with matching equipment from the same manufacturer. This will provide us better security, control, and insight as to what is occurring on the Fire Station network.”

The township is also planning on installing internet service at the Fire Station to provide redundancy for both the Fire Station and Township Hall, according to Bailey.

“This will require a firewall to be installed at the Fire Station to protect the internet connection,” Bailey said. “In addition, we are in the initial stages of planning on installing video cameras at the Fire Station and that will require more modern switches capable of handling the video network traffic.”

Also, the workstations used by the township firefighters are old, out of warranty and connected to 4:3 monitors that are very old. Bailey said they would like to use ARPA funds to purchase three new workstations with dual monitors and keyboard and mouse to provide the firefighters with better equipment to do portions of their jobs like reporting.

The total requested ARPA funds for the Fire Station were $15,000.

On the roads part of the ARPA decisions, township manager Joyce Parker said in her report:

“The Township received approximately $1.8 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Those ARPA funds were spent to purchase a rescue vehicle for the Scio Fire Department and to fund multiple, local road improvement projects in 2023. Further expenditures of ARPA funds have recently been approved for replacement of the emergency generator and for updating the information technology infrastructure at Township Hall.”

“The Township’s Road Special Assessment ended in 2023 and a replacement for that revenue has not yet been identified. The use of the Township’s remaining ARPA funds will keep Scio’s local road maintenance schedule on track for another year.”

One project in the list for the 2024 local road improvements in the agreement with the Washtenaw County Road Commission is Tubbs Road, from Huron River Drive to Stein Road Work. Estimated to be $155,000, the project would include drainage improvements, heavy brushing, shaping the existing surface, and the application of six inches of 23A Limestone (C.I.P.) (approximately 3600 tons) with associated dust control and project restoration.

STN asked Hathaway if there is anything residents should know about these.

Hathaway explained:

“The ARPA funds used for items described in 1 and 2 above are Federal ARPA funds that were disbursed to Scio Township,” he said. “By authorizing their expenditure and committing their use prior to the end of calendar year 2023, Scio Township is eligible for additional ARPA funds that may be disbursed by the State of Michigan. Scio Township does not now have a dedicated revenue source to pay for local road improvements. We used ARPA funds to pay for road improvement projects in 2023. With the Board’s action on Dec. 12, 2023, Scio will use ARPA funds to pay for local road projects in 2024 as well.”

He said, “The County grant is for 50 percent of the cost of culvert replacements and other projects that meet the criteria set by the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commission. Scio Township is preparing a grant application in partnership with the Washtenaw County Road Commission. If the grant is awarded by the County, then the Scio Board of Trustees will have the opportunity to vote on accepting the grant.”