December 8, 2021

Optimism, caution over virus relief aid

Following the announcement this week of the passing of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, Cortland County officials expressed optimism, but also caution over federal funding they will receive and its uses.

Cortland County will receive $9.2 million in funding as part of the plan, according to a news release this week from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Among the recipients:

  • Cortland: $2.05 million.
  • Cortlandville: $890,000.
  • Homer (town): $680,000.
  • Marathon (town): $200,000.
  • Dryden: $1.56 million.

Of the $1.9 trillion plan, $65 billion went to direct aid for municipalities nationwide. New York counties got $3.9 billion; smaller communities got $825 million.

“I’m cautiously optimistic this is the shot in the arm needed,” said Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin.

Tobin said the pandemic caused many cuts to the city’s budget and staffing for municipal offices.

The amount the city will receive will be roughly 10% of its 2021 budget of $21.2 million.

What they got

Cortland: $9.23 million
Tompkins: $19.82 million
Cayuga: $14.85 million

Cortland: $2.05 million

Cincinnatus: $110,000
Cortlandville: $890,000
Cuyler: $100,000
DeRuyter: $170,000
Dryden: $1.56 million
Freetown: $80,000
Groton: $640,000
Harford: $100,000
Homer: $680,000
Lapeer: $80,000
Locke: $210,000
Marathon: $200,000
Moravia: $380,000
Preble: $140,000
Scott: $120,000
Solon: $120,000
Summerhill: $130,000
Taylor: $50,000
Truxton: $120,000
Tully: $290,000
Virgil: $260,000
Willet: $110,000

SOURCE: Sen. Charles Schumer

The city will first look into spending where budget cuts were made, Tobin said.

The police department, for example, needed two police cruisers last year, but could buy only one, Tobin said. With this funding — which will be split over two years — the city can look into buying another police cruiser.

Tobin said he will wait to see what restrictions are linked to how the money could be used. He was also cautious about when the city might receive the money.

“This will help us continue our habit of keeping it under the 2% cap and not have to worry about cutting services from the public,” he said.

“This is needed. Make no mistake.”

Cortlandville Town Supervisor Tom Williams said he was “hopefully optimistic” as well but wanted to see the money first before anything would be done.

“When the check comes, I think we’ll take some serious look at it,” he said.

Williams said he had some ideas for how the money might be spent, potentially on town infrastructure needs, but said it would be up to the Cortlandville Town Board to decide how the money will be spent.