MAYVILLE – The federal government has given Chautauqua County $ 12.3 million and will give an additional $ 12.3 million as long as a plan is in place for how the county will use the money.
Money, which is part of the American Rescue Plan Act, can only be spent on certain things – water, sewage, broadband, and infrastructure. It can also be used to deal with recovery losses due to COVID-19 and public health initiatives.
County officials say it can’t be used to pay down debt, put into savings, used for pension funds, or to reduce taxes.
Since March, a select group of county officials have met with various department heads to develop a plan on how to spend the $ 24.6 million that has been set aside for Chautauqua County. County lawmakers heard the full plan for the first time on Wednesday.
The plan, which has yet to be adopted, has 41 projects. Currently, the county is not considering suggestions for future projects, but if the federal government approves the proposed infrastructure spending plan, some of the projects proposed in the US county bailout could be moved to the spending plan. infrastructure, which would allow additional projects. .
Mark Geise, Deputy County Director for Economic Development and Director of the County Industrial Development Agency, presented the 41 projects. They were divided into six categories: public health, infrastructure, economic and workforce development, drinking water, public safety and sundries. Below is a detailed list under each category.
¯ $ 700,000 for healthy homes and lead-based paint remediation. It would solve various problems, including roof and mold leaks, as well as lead-based paint, for low-income residents. “Children have been at home more often because of the pandemic and they have been exposed to dangers for a longer time, due to the fact that they had to be home schooled or that they were not in public day care centers” explained Christine Schuyler, county health director and social services commissioner.
¯ $ 378,000 for Strong Start Chautauqua, which helps younger and unborn children who are in poverty due to their mother’s addiction to drugs or alcohol. The money would be used for universal screening and awareness, as well as clinical training and technical assistance.
¯ $ 110,000 for information technology upgrades.
¯ $ 1.1 million to upgrade the Frank W. Bratt Agricultural Center in Jamestown. The building is currently vacant and needs improvement before it can be reused.
¯ $ 90,000 to renew personal protective equipment.
¯ $ 45,000 to buy Deterra sachets. These sachets are used to destroy unused prescription drugs and would be given to people who receive a prescription from a pharmacist.
¯ $ 100,000 for isolated housing. This money would be used for emergency aid to those who have a mandate to be isolated but have nowhere to go.
¯ $ 640,000 to improve heating, ventilation and air conditioning on county properties.
¯ $ 250,000 for paving at the county emergency services office in Mayville to create a drive-thru clinic.
¯ $ 200,000 for planning and preparing for public health emergencies. These funds would be used to assess the county’s response to the current pandemic and how to plan for future emergencies. Many of these plans are required for federal funds.
¯ $ 2.5 million to provide high speed Internet access to unserved or underserved communities in the county. The county would use the funds to allow Internet service providers to install infrastructure in rural areas of the county. “This is something that we have never undertaken in the county government – to invest in something that would not be a tangible asset for us on the outside”, County General Manager PJ Wendel explained.
$ 17,173,000 to increase County Internet bandwidth upgrades.
¯ $ 1.4 million for the installation of infrastructure for sites ready to be shoveled. According to Geise, the county will often receive calls from interested companies looking to locate here, but there are no good sites available. “In my humble opinion, the most important thing we can do is have these sites so that these companies can come and invest money here, pay taxes and create jobs,” he said.
¯ $ 650,000 to purchase a used 60 tonne crane for bridge work. According to Department of Public Facilities director Brad Bentley, the county has a 1970s crane, but it is struggling to find operators and parts for it. For this reason, when the county has to do bridging work, it often has to outsource this work.
¯ $ 480,000 to purchase two new dump / plow trucks. Bentley said the county has 33 trucks, 13 of which are over 10 years old. This would help speed up the renewal of their fleet.
¯ $ 810,000 to purchase a new snow plow. This snowplow would be used when there is too much snow for the county’s snowplow trucks to move. According to Bentley, they have a 1963 snow plow, but the parts are almost impossible to find. Without the snow plow, the county must rely on the State or National Guard for a snow emergency.
¯ $ 400,000 to buy a long-arm excavator. This would be used for ditch and stream work including help with ice jams.
¯ $ 72,000 to carry out an air services development study for the Jamestown County Airport. This study would help determine whether commercial air service will ever be able to return to Chautauqua County.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT / WORKFORCE
¯ $ 1.4 million to purchase sites that can be used for future development. This would be in addition to the $ 1.4 million for ready-to-dig site infrastructure. Geise added that Chautauqua County, compared to other counties in western New York State, has fewer sites available for development.
¯ $ 800,000 to strengthen the county occupancy tax program. Officials say this money would cover losses over the past year and a half when the county did not collect occupancy tax on vacation rental properties.
¯ $ 500,000 for the Chautauqua County Economic Growth Partnership. This initiative, which was launched in 2019, is used to develop projects each year and the money would be used for the required counterparts.
¯ $ 352,000 for the Chautauqua Advancement Project, in order to connect young university graduates with paid internships in companies in the region in order to eventually retain them in the community. This program is in partnership with JCC, SUNY Fredonia, County IDA and other agencies with a particular focus on manufacturing.
$ 240,000 to temporarily waive various charges for businesses in the county, for two years, that have been affected by the pandemic. Examples of businesses include campgrounds, restaurants, tanning salons, tattoo parlors, and mobile home parks.
¯ $ 232,540 for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s farm improvement program. This money would help farmers improve vacant or underperforming farmland. “The idea is to help strengthen the agricultural community and the economic development that underpins it”, said Emily Reynolds, director of the CCE.
¯ $ 400,000 for marketing assistance for businesses and nonprofits, through the Chamber of Commerce, County IDA and Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau. Geise explained that this would create grants for businesses in the area to help them with their marketing.
¯ $ 8.4 million for the phase II sewer extension on the west side of Lac Chautauqua. This extension would reduce bacterial contamination of private water wells and reduce the nutrient load in the lake.
¯ $ 250,000 for the stabilization of the banks of watercourses along various roads that are easily damaged or flooded during heavy rains.
¯ $ 150,000 for a study of the Lake Chautauqua protection and rehabilitation district. This study would be different from those in the past, in that it would not focus on the properties of the lake, but rather on other properties that inadvertently impact Lake Chautauqua.
¯ $ 250,000 for the Jefferson project at Lac Chautauqua. This project makes it possible to identify the causes and solutions of harmful algal blooms and is in partnership with the Chautauqua Institution.
¯ $ 70,000 to renovate the old county printing plant so that it can be used by the district attorney’s office.
¯ $ 64,610 for new handguns for the Sheriff’s Department.
¯ $ 30,000 for new personal ballistic vests for the sheriff’s department.
¯ $ 318,000 for a body and two mail scanners for the county jail.
¯ $ 175,000 for new mobile and portable radios and vehicle repeaters.
¯ $ 30,000 for two towed electronic bulletin boards per vehicle.
¯ $ 41,500 for county emergency services office technology upgrades.
¯ $ 135,000 to replace the county dive boat. The current one was damaged in a recent rescue and is currently not in service.
¯ $ 121,000 for emergency medical equipment.
¯ $ 33,800 for scanning county records.
¯ $ 250,000 to improve the county’s trails. The money would fix bridges, culverts, kiosks, signs on Overland trails.
¯ $ 250,000 to create a part-time American Rescue PLAN Act Grant Administrator.
THE NEXT STEP
Legislature Speaker Pierre Chagnon said the Legislature will consider spending proposals at committee meetings this month. The goal is, hopefully, to adopt the whole plan in September. By putting the plan in place, the federal government will pay the county the remaining $ 12.3 million next year. He added that if the whole plan is adopted, department heads will still need to get final approval for each individual spending plan.