Montpelier

Montpelier Village Manager Jason Rockey, right, addresses councilmen Nate Thompson, center, and Dan Willis, left, during the council meeting Monday. The council passed a resolution that will allow the village to use COVID-19 relief money, possibly to make technical upgrades at town hall and possibly at the police and fire stations.

MONTPELIER — The Village of Montpelier could be seeing vast improvements to its available technology with the help of funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Jason Rockey, village manager, said after the council meeting Monday evening the money was filtered from the state to the county to the individual municipalities, but he was unsure how much Montpelier would get from the funding.

Earlier in the month, Pioneer Village Administrator Al Fiser said every municipality in the county received the same amount of funding, $49,235.51.

During the meeting, council voted to create a special fund to deal with the money.

Initially, Rockey said he and Nikki Uribes, director of finance, were unsure if the grant was worth the effort.

“There’s all kinds of restrictions on how these funds can be spent,” Rockey told council. “The money the village spent directly related to coronavirus was pretty minimal — we bought some masks, some cleaning supplies.”

All the effort and hassle that goes into auditing grants simply didn’t seem worth the couple hundred dollars they spent, he said.

But, new information is coming out frequently about how they can spend that money.

“I think we have the opportunity to make some technical upgrades up at town hall, possibly in council chambers, over at (the police department), maybe here (at the fire hall) if we continue to have meetings here,” Rockey said.

With more industries and governments having various meetings remotely, he said it would become “the way of the future,” citing how American Municipal Power is having a remote meeting this year for the first time in its history.

With upgrades, Rockey said they could have a better place to watch or host a webinar with upgraded internet and some cameras.

“We’re sorely lacking in the technology department and, in order to keep up with these changes with webinars and remote meetings, it’s something we need to be able to participate efficiently,” he said.

Passing the resolution to create the fund is the first step in receiving money.

The county has the CARES Act money, Rockey continued, and villages that have already passed this legislation earlier in the year have received their money.

“It pays you money and you take your chances (spending it),” he said. “You won’t know until you are audited next year on whether it was an appropriate expenditure or not.”

In other business:

• Police Chief Dan McGee introduced Austin Batt as the newest full-time police officer for the department. Batt is a Montpelier native who said he has no intention of moving out of the area and would like to move up the ranks, possibly being the chief in a couple of decades.

• Rockey gave updates on a variety of projects, saying the County Road 13 trail connector project is moving forward, with County Engineer Todd Roth working on the engineering. Meanwhile, the sixth combined sewer overflow (CSO) project had finished concrete work with milling to start soon. Milling on the Wood Drive project started last week.

• Rockey also said he was working with the school to make sure the village’s sports programs line up with the school’s sports programs in terms of COVID-19 safety.

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