December 4, 2021

Homer still waiting to receive $200,000 grant from state

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Donna Kotas, right, an account clerk-typist with the village of Homer, works as intern Andrew Fagerheim takes his seat Thursday in the village office. The state grant that funded renovations to allow the village to move into the town-owned building has been delayed.

The town of Homer is still awaiting a $200,000 grant announced nearly a year ago, caught up at the state level due to the coronavirus pandemic, to reimburse some of the cost to renovate the 112-year-old town hall.

“I was told by a lady in the (state) Dorm Authority a year ago July — now 13 months ago — that all our paperwork was in order,” said town Supervisor Fred Forbes.

Work has since finished on the town hall, costing around $700,000, which Forbes said was paid for from town reserves.

However, the town still hopes to get the grant, supported by state Sen. James L. Seward (R-Milford).

Forbes said the state Dormitory Authority told him grants could take up to three years to get. However, he said he’s unsure if the town will see the money next year.

“Well, they (the state Dormitory Authority) told me I’d get it within a year they didn’t tell me what year,” he said. “Am I expecting it in the mail tomorrow? No. Do I have any idea when to expect it? Probably not.”

The lack of money won’t affect the 2021 budget, because the project is already paid for.

“Obviously the lower the reserves get, the more we have to consider raising taxes,” he said, noting that won’t be considered until he’s heard that there’s the possibility that the town won’t actually get the money.

Seward said he is still pushing to get the money to the town.

“State funding for this key infrastructure project is being held up by the Division of Budget due to the current fiscal state in New York,” he said in an email. “I will continue to press state officials to release the funds and ensure the Town of Homer is able to move forward with the town hall renovation project without placing an undue burden on local taxpayers.”