The town of Buchanan is using some of its $900,000 in American Recovery Plan Act money to upgrade sewer and wastewater systems and fund a grant program to help business owners improve their properties, the town announced Thursday.

More than half of the money — at least $500,000 — will pay for work on the town’s sewer and wastewater systems, Town Manager Susan McCulloch said. The full scope of the work has yet to be determined, she said, but some of the funds will be used to purchase a new trailer-mounted sewer jetter and a new sewer camera and to replace lights at the wastewater treatment plant.

“The ARPA funds could not have come at a better time,” Councilman James Manspile said in a news release. “The town council has talked several times in the past few years of how we would budget for replacing aging equipment and moving forward on new technology available to us. These funds will benefit the citizens in town in more ways than you would think.”

The town council also earmarked up to $40,000 for commercial building improvement grants of up to $5,000. The program is open to owners of commercially zoned property within the town, as well as to tenants and prospective tenants in a commercial zone. Recipients must match the reimbursable grants dollar for dollar. 

The grant program starts Jan. 1, and applications are available on the town’s website. Grants will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds run out.

Establishing a grant pool to help business owners increase their properties’ curb appeal and tax value has been a goal in the town’s comprehensive plan, according to the news release.

“Our businesses have persevered through the challenging few years, and we appreciate them,” Vice Mayor Chris Witt said in the release. “This matching grant funding will help improve and grow businesses in our community. We are excited about the opportunity for these owners.”
Manspile said he hopes the town can find funding to continue the program on at least a limited basis each year.

– Megan Schnabel