BELCHERTOWN — With American Rescue Plan Act funding needing to be spent down by the end of this year, the Select Board continued allocating its remaining funds to future items.

Belchertown was awarded approximately $4.5 million in ARPA funds to help the community’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

After allocating most of the funds for multiple projects in town, the board has approximately $150,000 remaining.

Back in December 2023, the Select Board approved $125,000 in ARPA funds to repair the elevator at Town Hall.

The Select Board has discussed this project in the past as the current condition of the elevator needs major repairs.

Town Administrator Steve Williams said at the end of December, he received an updated quote for the project.

The budget for the project went from $125,000 to $175,000.

“It came in about 20% higher than our original quote. In addition to that, the work has exceeded certain thresholds that require significant amount of coding upgrades to the building with the electrical service, fire alarm, ventilation going into the elevator mechanical room,” Williams added.

The Select Board approved allocating am additional $50,000 in ARPA funds for the elevator repairs.
Select Board Chair Ed Boscher added, “As we all know, post-COVID costs have continued to rise at an incredible rate and the elevator quote is no different.”

Williams said the scope of the project is not replacing the elevator but making needed repairs.

He added, “It’s not a brand new elevator in the sense that we are tearing everything out and starting over. It is replacing all the mechanicals, rehabbing the carriage, putting all new electronics in. So, they will reuse when they can and replace everything else.”

Williams added that he hopes these repairs will give the elevator another 30-40 years of life and that they will not have to replace the whole thing.

In terms of when the project will begin, Williams said the contractor will have some time before they can start.

“I do not have an estimated time that the elevator will be out of service. We will have a long ways from point A to point B at this point. We still need to get quotes and sign a contract and order parts,” Williams said.

The Select Board and Williams said they will make sure everyone is aware of the construction before it happens and accommodate those who need the elevator to get to the other floors in Town Hall.

“We are going to have to come up with a plan where we are meeting them at the back door,” Williams said.

The Select Board also agreed to reallocate approximately $19,675 to help with the lease of a second ambulance.

Williams said that there was a previous vote to authorize Fire Chief John Ingram to spend $427,299 on an ambulance but after receiving the ambulance, there was a remaining balance of $19,675.

Williams added that there is a second ambulance that is due to be delivered in May and he would like to reallocate the remaining balance from the first ambulance to use for the second ambulance’s lease.

“It’s a lease purchase. It’s in our annual operating budget for FY24 and we want to use to partly buy down our lease to make the payments a little but less so we can keep them within the budget and to also make sure that we have all the equipment we need so the ambulance can be ready to go,” Williams said.

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