Mayor Learns More About How Relief Funding Can Be Used
Earlier this month, the city of Jamestown received more than $14 million in its first of two — for a total of $29.8 million — American Rescue Act funding allocations.
Last week, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist learned more about how city officials will be able to use the money while attending the New York Conference of Mayors legislative session in Albany.
Sundquist said the biggest category city officials will need to look at is lost revenue. Under the U.S. Treasury Department guidance, he said city officials are able to claim lost revenue from 2020 to 2024.
“We are looking at and calculating what our lost revenue will be and how much of the $29 million we can take under the guidance,” he said. “The reason that is so important is lost revenue can be used for general services. We can apply that to almost any project or general service almost immediately.”
Sundquist said the next big category city officials can use the stimulus funding for is on economic development. He said the funding can either be used to assist companies established before the pandemic that might have scaled back operations, or closed altogether, return to pre-COVID-19 conditions. The money could also be used for new business enterprises.
“It can be for retooling (a business) or the creation of a new business venture to help spur economic development,” he said. “It could also be used on items to expand development as far as tourism and the hospitality sector.”
Sundquist said the American Rescue Act funding can also be used to serve areas of the community hit hardest by the pandemic like mental health and homelessness, or affordable housing.
“We had a really great discussion (on the American Rescue Act) and one of the things we found out is the city of Jamestown is much further ahead than other municipalities in preparing and presenting a plan to the (Jamestown) City Council and the public on the use of funds,” he said.
Sundquist anticipates the city’s plan for how the funding will be used will be presented to the public in the next couple of weeks.
“Our intention, even before the council makes any vote or decision on the plan, is to bring it around to the public,” he said. “We will discuss projects that could be funded and how categories have been developed. Then we will solicit feedback on how the funding should be allocated.”
Sundquist said other topics discussed during the NYCOM session included the use of illegal fireworks and dirt bikes and ATVs in municipalities. During the last couple of years, city officials have discussed several times the illegal use of fireworks in the city.
“This is a continual problem occurring across New York state,” Sundquist said.
The mayor said a bike sharing program or e-bicycles was also discussed. City officials have discussed a couple times the possibility of starting a bike sharing program.
“We had a good discussion on how (bike sharing programs and e-bicycles) provide additional transportation opportunities to a community,” he said. “The city has been trying to craft a bike sharing program. We’ve been working through the process as well, so we have more transportation options for the community.”