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  • Participatory Budgeting Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the number of awards and for how much?

    The grants available are:

    • One grant of $10,000
    • Four grants of $5,000 each

    Proposals must indicate whether they are seeking a $10k or $5k grant.

    What is the timeline of this participatory budgeting project?

    We are accepting proposals between July 15–August 15. The committee will review proposals for eligibility. Eligible ideas will be offered for community voting between Sept 15–22. Proposals receiving grants will be announced at the City Council meeting on October 3.

    What kind of proposal is eligible?

    Funds may be used to:

    • Respond to the far-reaching public health and negative economic impacts of the pandemic, by supporting the health of communities, and helping households, small businesses, impacted industries, nonprofits, and the public sector recover from economic impacts.
    • Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical sectors.
    • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, to support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and to expand affordable access to broadband internet.
    • Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services up to the amount of revenue lost due to the pandemic.

    Within those categories is room for creativity! See what 800 other communities are using their ARPA funds for.

    Final eligibility of proposals will be reviewed by City staff and ARPA experts. If a proposal is close but not quite eligible, the committee will contact the applicant to see if they are interested in modifying the proposal to meet eligibility criteria.

    Here are full ARPA rules.

    Why are there restrictions on eligible projects?

    This money comes from a pool of funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act. That Act allows cities, counties, and states to use the money for specific purposes. Any projects funded through this Participatory Budgeting project must abide by those restrictions. The City of Rockland is required to report the uses of the money to the federal government. You can learn more about ARPA funds.

    Who can receive the money?

    The money can be used by the City of Rockland directly (for example, to support a broadband internet project or design a park), or can be transferred to a non-profit organization (for example, to support affordable housing or provide substance abuse recovery services.) The money can NOT be transferred to an individual person. Proposals should be for projects that can be carried out by the city, or by an existing non-profit organization.

    What if I want the city to spend the money on something under city management?

    That’s a fine idea, as long as it meets the ARPA criteria. Submit a specific proposal for how the city should use the money, such as stormwater improvement, or supporting public health measures.

    Who can submit a proposal?

    Any Rockland resident age 12 or over can enter a project idea (those under age 18 will need an adult cosponsor). Our young folks have great ideas and should be allowed to help determine the future of their community. We welcome them to propose projects and to vote! Organizations who have headquarters or significant operations in Rockland may submit a proposal, but it must be sponsored by an individual resident of Rockland. Please include both the organization and individual name in your proposal form.

    Who can propose ideas?

    Residents of Rockland. For the purposes of making a proposal or voting in the Participatory Budgeting project, you must be in one of these categories:

    • Eligible to register to vote in Rockland (but you do not have to be registered).
    • Rockland must be your primary residence—where you live 183+ days of the year, the address listed on your tax returns, or the address on your driver’s license.
    • For youth under 18, you or your parent/guardian must meet one of the above categories.

    How do I submit a project online?

    Projects can be entered through our online form at rocklandmaine.gov/rebound. Computers are available for public use at the Rockland Public Library.

    I don’t have internet access, or I work best on paper. How can I submit my proposal?

    Paper forms are available at the Rockland Public Library or from the Clerk’s Office at Rockland City Hall. Completed forms should be put in the drop boxes at the Library or City Hall.

    Who can vote on proposals?

    Any Rockland resident age 12 and up can vote for their favorite projects.

    How do I vote?

    Voting will be available online at rocklandmaine.gov/rebound, or you can vote on a paper ballot at the Rockland Public Library or Rockland City Hall on the same dates. Only one vote is allowed per person. Duplicate votes will not be counted.

    When is the money allocated?

    The money will be distributed within approximately 1–2 months of final approval.

    What has Rockland used ARPA funding for already?

    Out of the $756,737.22 that was given to Rockland, spending includes:

    • Equipment for conducting hybrid meetings: $13,000
    • Fire Dept gear extractor and installation (for laundry): $16,000
    • Citizen Alert software (4 years): $19,000
    • Enhance city services available online: $38,000
    • Additional COVID pay for eligible city employees: $67,000
    • Storm Water system improvements – Pen Bay Acres: $220,000
    • Storm Water system improvements – Master Plan projects: $313,737.22
    • Reserve fund (must be allocated by 12/31/2024): $40,000

    When do the projects that receive funding have to be completed?

    All ARPA funds must be spent by December 2024.

    What will happen to any funds not awarded for proposals?

    Any unawarded money will be donated to AIO Food and Energy Assistance to help Rockland residents in need.

    Where did this money come from? Will this raise our taxes or take money away from other parts of the city budget?

    This money is from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act funding that was sent to cities, counties, and states. This money was not generated from municipal taxes, and will not reduce any money the city has budgeted.

    Where did the Participatory Budgeting idea come from?

    Participatory Budgeting is a process that has been used in over 7000 cities worldwide since 1989 to let citizens have a direct impact on how their tax dollars are used.

    Why is Rockland using Participatory Budgeting to spend this money?

    Rockland wants to offer residents the opportunity to make meaningful decisions about their community. The City Council acknowledges that there is a lot of creativity and perspective among residents that can help identify challenges and create solutions. Participatory Budgeting puts that belief into action.

    I have a question that isn’t answered here. Where can I get help?

    Please email rocklandrebound@gmail.com with your question. The volunteer committee will respond to you as soon as possible.