Recovering From Financial Loss: Chemung Co. Receiving $16 Million From American Rescue Plan
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) — Like many others, Chemung County suffered a huge financial loss during the pandemic, but the federal government is helping them get back on their feet.
Chemung County is on track to get $16 million from the American Rescue Plan and County Executive Chris Moss says this will help bring the area one step closer to financial recovery
"Nobody is going to sneeze at $16 million, it's money that we can utilize to make the community better, to fix a lot of things that we needed to fix, departments, whether they're led by department heads or elected officials. They were asked to make cuts last year, when it comes to cuts that involved equipment, hopefully, we can make them whole in that area as well," Moss said.
The county will get $8 million over the course of the next year, local leaders are looking at areas in need of repair.
"If it's replacing pylons at Harris Hill or fixing pylons at Harris Hill, then we have to buildings and grounds involved and we have to get quotes. It's a process and everything you want to do is different," Moss said.
According to Moss, they're looking at repairing roads, installing broadband and upgrading emergency services, some staples of the county won't be addressed under the American Rescue Plan. As WENY News reported last week, the first arena needs upwards of $8 million of repairs, according to the I.D.A., but that funding won't come from this spending package.
"With that being said, does anyone want to see the arena demolished? Of course not, but we're not going to spend any more county taxpayer money on the arena. We have to find a different route," Moss said.
According to a poll from Chemung County, 80% of participants said they didn't want American Rescue Plan funding to go towards improvements for First Arena.
Inflation costs could affect how far the county can stretch the federal grant for construction projects.
"We build buildings, we buy shingles to re-roof buildings, we contract with folks who do the same. Some of this money will end up paying for inflated costs, certainly."
According to Chemung County officials, their pandemic deficit is an estimated $15 million. Every area that receives funding has to be approved by the legislature.
"Once they adopt the plan, then component by component we will start working on it. For instance, if it's hotel, motel, if it's room tax we didn't get, that's a pretty easy fix. We get together with the treasury, we write the checks, we make those entities whole," Moss said.
According to Moss, the money will be spread out from now until 2024, with funding to certain municipalities increasing over time based on their needs.
The proposed distribution for the American Rescue Plan in Chemung County is:
55% - Maintenance of Infrastructure, $9,000,000
15% - Nursing Facilities, $2,500,000
7% - Tourism, $1,075,000
7% - Community Investment, $1,150,000
6% - Municipal Broadband Build-Out, $1,000,000
6% - Not For Profits, $894,448
1% - Grant Management, $242,937
2% - Room Tax Distribution, $376,403