MINOT — The Board of Selectmen detailed how the town intends to spend $275,000 in aid from the American Rescue Plan Act during its meeting Monday night.

The board chose to allocate $125,000 to broadband projects, $75,000 to miscellaneous capital improvements, $50,000 for network and physical security and $25,000 to essential worker payments. The miscellaneous capital improvements include projects like paving roads or improving recreational fields, Town Administrator Danielle Loring explained.

According to the funding stipulations, the town has until 2024 to start the projects, but can apply to extend the availability of funds in 2026, if they are not yet complete.

Broadband expansion

The board tabled a discussion on a proposal from FirstLight to amend the funding source for the town’s $300,000 broadband expansion.

The project, which Loring said will be completed by the end of 2022, will bring high-speed internet to residents in the northwest region of Minot. The town estimates the project will cover half of the residences that currently do not have adequate internet access.

Originally, the town of Minot, in partnership with FirstLight, received a grant from ConnectME and each party was to contribute $100,000 to the project. However, FirstLight did not approve of the project’s auditing firm and they withdrew from the grant application.

Without the $100,000 grant from ConnectME, Minot plans to dedicate $50,000 of its broadband ARPA funds, in addition to the original $100,000. FirstLight will put the remaining $150,000 forward for the project. Due to ARPA funding stipulations, the town must renegotiate their contract with FirstLight, which was discussed Monday.

In other business, the selectmen adopted a change to the fire department’s standard operating procedures which, effective immediately, allows unvaccinated volunteer firefighters to continue to be members of the department as long as they are not providing patient care. Loring said the policy is similar to one adopted in Livermore last month in response to vaccine mandates for emergency medical service personnel, however Loring clarified that there was no change with the Minot Fire Department’s EMS license.

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