By Susan Gonsalves, Contributing Writer
SOUTHBOROUGH – Marlborough-based Capital Strategic Solutions (CSS) will assist Southborough in obtaining and managing state and federal funds, including those made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
On Sept. 8, the Southborough Board of Selectmen spoke with Jennifer Thompson from CSS, who will serve as project manager. She will work closely with Town Manager Mark Purple, Town Accountant Carla McAuliffe, Treasurer-Collector Brian Ballantine, as well as with the board itself. The town’s contract with CSS is “at will” and for up to $49,600 of work.
Thompson explained that she has 24 years experience working in municipal government in administration/financial roles, including serving as assistant town manager in Framingham and as chief financial officer for the Barnstable County sheriff’s office.
In addition to ARPA and other COVID-related funds, Thompson said that she would help the town identify grants from agencies including the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for infrastructure projects related to pandemic economic recovery.
CSS will provide guidance on the types of projects ARPA is looking to fund and “what is the best bang for the buck,” Thompson said. However, selectmen (and/or possibly Town Meeting) will ultimately decide which projects to pursue.
Purple said his interactions so far with the project manager are “hitting all the right buttons.” Down the line, it will be a matter of determining whether to focus on one major project or tackle a number of smaller ones.
Creation of a formal working group and public outreach are other important steps, said Thompson.
“Outside of the box is not only okay,” Selectman Martin Healey said, “it’s welcome in terms of how we might attack these funding sources and make use of them.”