Canton’s Bicentennial Committee was recognized at the selectmen’s meeting for receiving the Oxford County Spirit of America Award. Left to right are Brian Keene, Anne Chamberlin, Phyllis Ouellette and Loretta Blancato. Missing from the photograph is committee member Liz Rothrock. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

CANTON — The town has received half of its full COVID-19 government funding of $115,966 this month, said Town Clerk Carol Buzzell at the selectmen’s meeting on Thursday.

The rest of the funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, will be received “a year from now,” Buzzell said. The town also received a questionnaire to be completed detailing the town’s plans for spending the funds, to be completed by 2026.

Town Treasurer Vernice Boyce, who was at Thursday’s meeting, gave an explanation of how the ARPA funds should be spent: “I’ve understood that if you’ve got (town) water or sewer (improvements), you can use it pretty much carte blanche for anything (to do with) water, sewer, or broadband, or anything that is going to better facilitate meetings like Zoom (conferencing) or whatever is concerned or does anything for security to keep your workers safe.”

Boyce also noted that the ARPA funds could be spent on items for better air circulation in buildings.

In another matter, Boyce gave the selectmen a review of the town’s draft audit for fiscal year 2020-2021 and assured them that the town is “sitting pretty good” financially, she said.

Boyce pointed out that the town’s budget for 2021-22 is $2.45 million, which also includes its budget for the RSU 56 school district, shared with the towns of Dixfield, Carthage and Peru.

The town’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Canton Town Treasurer Vernice Boyce explains the town’s draft audit for fiscal year 2020-21 during the selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday. Seated nearby are Deputy Town Clerk Nicki Girard and Selectman Scotty Kilbreth. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Boyce also suggested that selectmen make a decision about how much money should be kept in an undesignated fund, in order to prevent the town from having to borrow money during the months of July through October when they town is not collecting revenue from property taxes.

In other news, members of Canton’s Bicentennial Committee received the Oxford County Spirit of America Award for their “outstanding community service.” The committee held several fundraising events throughout the year for the final bicentennial celebration in August, which included four days of festivities marked by a parade, fireworks, a street dance and all kinds of entertainment.

Members of the bicentennial committee are Brian Keene, Phyllis Ouellette, Anne Chamberlin, Loretta Blancato and Liz Rothrock.

According to a letter from the Spirit of America Foundation read by Chairman Russell Adams, the Spirit of America Foundation is located in Augusta, Maine, and is a nonprofit public charity encouraging volunteerism.

There will be a brief ceremony for all of the area Spirit of America 2021 award winners on Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. at the Oxford County Courthouse in South Paris.


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