American Rescue Plan will provide financial aid for area municipalities

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) this week announced billions of dollars in direct federal aid that will flow to New York state and its municipalities from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan being negotiated through Congress.

A news release issued by Schumer’s office says he is “delivering on his promise of robust relief for New York state and localities.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer declared that “help is on the way” and detailed the contents of the $23.8 billion in state and local fiscal aid, including $12.56 billion for New York state’s government and more than $10.8 billion for counties, cities, towns, and villages, he secured for New York in the American Rescue Plan he led to passage in the Senate.

Upon President Joe Biden’s signature, the American Rescue Plan will provide a vital and substantial injection of funding for cash-strapped localities that can be used to pay for essential services, retain vital frontline workers, and offset lost revenues and increased costs from the COVID-19 emergency, the release said.

According to figures provided by Schumer’s office, Fulton County would receive $10.4 million in direct federal aid. Montgomery County will receive $9.6 million, while Hamilton County will get $860,000.

The city of Gloversville is due to receive $1.62 million. The city of Johnstown would get about $900,000.

“I didn’t know that,” Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis stated Tuesday, when informed of the federal payment.

He said he was aware New York state’s municipalities below 25,000 residents would receive something, but wasn’t sure of the amount.

“That’s very, very significant and it helps us tremendously,” DeSantis said.

The mayor said Gloversville is often involved in grant situations and hinted that the federal aid may augment matching funds in such situations.

DeSantis said a $1.62 million payment represents a “significant boost” to a city with a roughly $18 million annual budget. He said such funding can also foster and trigger private investment within a community.

Town of Johnstown Supervisor Jack Wilson was also happy to hear of the roughly $800,000 his town is due to receive.

“That would be awesome,” Wilson said.

The supervisor called the stimulus funding a “great gift” that could be utilized toward decreasing his town’s tax rates possibly in multiple years. He said it could also be used to pay off a new plow truck his town purchased for the highway department.

Fulton County’s towns would receive these federal aid amounts: Bleecker —$50,000; Broadalbin — $570,000; Caroga — $130,000; Ephratah — $170,000; Johnstown – $800,000; Mayfield — $680,000; Northampton — $280,000; Oppenheim — $210,000; Perth — $380,000; Stratford — $60,000.

In Montgomery County, the city of Amsterdam is due to receive $1.95 million. The town of Amsterdam would get $660,000.

Other municipalities in the county include: town of Canajoharie — $390,000; town of Glen — $270,000; and the town of Mohawk — $410,000.

Funds can also be used for relief to small businesses, hard-hit industries, and infrastructure investments to help rebuild local economies. Schumer says the state and local funding will keep local economies afloat and essential services running for communities, including the roll out of vaccines.

It is estimated that New York state’s agencies and authorities will receive over $30 billion from the American Rescue Plan, on top of the funds from the state and local fiscal relief fund.

“After fighting this pandemic on the frontlines, New York’s counties and municipalities were loud and clear: they needed help and they needed it now to keep frontline workers on the job and prevent brutal service cuts. And today, to all towns, villages, cities, and counties throughout New York I say: help is on the way,,” said Schumer. “As majority leader, I was proud to make state and local funding my top priority as municipalities throughout New York and The American Rescue Plan will deliver the much deserved relief for New York’s local governments — to the tune of $23.8 billion — to get New York’s municipalities the resources and funding they need to prevent layoff, to keep essential services running, and to keep our Main Streets alive and able to rebound when we emerge from the pandemic.”

The senator explained tin the release hat the nation’s economic recovery depends on the survival of state and local governments, which have been forced to make substantial layoff across the nation as they struggle with revenue shortfalls caused by the COVID downturn.

New York state lost billions of dollars in revenue compared to pre-pandemic years and counties and other municipalities across the state have already had to cut thousands of jobs due to massive budget shortfalls.

Concerned about the layoffs of public health care workers, firefighters, sanitation workers, teachers, and other vital public servants across New York, Schumer said he has fought since the beginning of the pandemic to deliver financial resources to help all counties, cities, towns, and villages recover.

In addition to securing $150 plus billion for New York in previous COVID relief bill negotiations, Schumer visited the Southern Tier and Western New York and pushed the previous administration to provide robust state and local aid that would benefit all Americans. After months of effort, the senator also successfully called for FEMA to provide 100 percent cost sharing to New York state, delivering billions more for the state to cover costs related to the pandemic.

$23.8 Billion for New York —Total amount of funding provided to New York State through the state and local fiscal relief fund, to keep first responders, frontline health workers, and other providers of vital services safely on the job as states and local governments roll out vaccines and fight to rebuild Main Street economies. Funding can be used for assistance to households, small businesses, nonprofits, aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality, investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, and to provide premium pay to frontline workers.

Local governments of every size, including all counties, cities, towns, and villages, receive dedicated federal aid awards.

A new $10 billion capital projects program also support state broadband deployment efforts.

Funds are allocated in New York as follows:

— $12.569 Billion for New York State Government

— $6.141 Billion for New York Metro Cities

— $3.907 Billion for New York’s Counties

— $825 Million for New York’s Small Cities, Towns, and Villages

— $358 Million for a New York State Broadband Investment Program

Eligible uses for the state and local funds as detailed in the American Rescue Plan, appear below.

This information is subject to change:

Funds may be used by state and local governments for:

— Costs associated with responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including but not limited to, assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.

— To support workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work.

— To cover revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

— To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

By Paul Wager