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Sundquist: ‘Big Ticket’ Items On The Way

Jamestown Municipal Building P-J file photo

Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist during a meeting of the City Council this week went over a few of the highlights for the city that are tied to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget.

Sundquist said while the city is still delving into the meat of the governor’s executive budget, he wanted to discuss some of the “high-level items that are going to be important for the city going forward.”

“First and foremost, the aid to municipalities is staying the same under the budget,” Sundquist said. “We currently get just over $4 million in aid to municipality payments and that is intended to stay the same under the budget.”

Sundquist said there is a historic amount of money being allocated for roads and bridges in New York under the executive budget, which includes $538 million in CHIPS funding, $100 million in extreme winter weather recovery and the creation of a $100 million pothole fund.

“You may have seen that the governor has declared war on potholes — that was an interesting phrase — but there will be funds made available to municipalities to deal with potholes within the city. We’re still waiting to learn more about what that will be.”

Sundquist said there will also be $500 million for clean water and wastewater initiatives.

“In the past, the city has actually utilized that fund in combination with grant and loan funds to help develop and change some of our drinking water pipes,” he said.

The mayor said the executive budget also brings back a program called “Restore New York.”

“It’s been gone since about 2017, but it’s meant for cities to combat blight by supporting those municipalities to address vacant and abandoned buildings,” he said. “It is a fund that helps cities deal with vacant and abandoned buildings — some for demolition, some for rehabilitation. There’s a whole mixture of things. We’re really excited to see that. That mixture actually favors cities that have a larger abandoned vacant population as well as a lower median income. Back in 2017, the city was rated pretty high on that to get funding, so we will most likely anticipate that we’ll see some funding from that going forward.”

Sundquist said there is also a proposed special program that includes $50 million for capital investments in communities impacted by gun violence. He said last year, area agencies received grants due to an increase in gun violence in the city.

“We would be on the docket there for potential funding which is meant to help with capital programs that help reduce some of the gun violence,” he said. “I don’t have an answer on how those programs are going to work yet … but as we get more information, we’ll get that out to you.”

Sundquist also highlighted the $25 billion housing program fund that is proposed to be established that will help create more affordable housing across the state, as well as $1.6 billion for broadband investments, and $44 million to help state and local governments with cyber defense.

“That’s one of the biggest things that we’ve seen, especially here in the city is the potential for cyber hackers to try and get into our networks,” he added.

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