Take a deep breath and prioritize remaining stimulus funding | News, Sports, Jobs


There was a time when Jamestown’s $28.3 million federal stimulus program was stuck in the mud.

What is happening now is a long way from weeks and months after the city received funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. It took some time for the city to come up with programs to submit to the council for approval. Board members had their own questions about the programs. All of this combined for a frustrating start.

The process has accelerated in recent months. And while $10 million might seem like a lot of money, it isn’t when you consider the size of some of the programs that have been presented to the board in recent weeks. The Chautauqua County Land Bank wants a million dollars. Crystal Surdyk, the city’s director of development, wants $750,000 for a business expansion and acquisition program, $750,000 for a new homeownership program and $1.5 million for a non-profit aid program. The Jamestown YMCA is asking for $2 million for its new building on Harrison Street.

But an exchange at a recent council meeting makes us think it’s time for council and city department heads to band together and make sure that last $9 million is spent wisely.

“Are we missing the mark on gun violence, on public safety, on extremely COVID-related issues that we continue to divest from program ramifications,” Councilwoman Kim Ecklund said during the Oct. 3 council business session. “The SWAT van is a prime example. We said no initially. Now we have gun violence. Should we revisit this before the dollars run out? »

“It is certainly a conversation that depends on all of you”, Surdyk replied “I will continue to fight to ensure that every dollar goes through our department and goes to our businesses because that’s my job.”

Clearly, there are more needs in the city than there is stimulus money to give. With two-thirds of the $28.3 million allocated to Jamestown’s federal stimulus package, it’s time for city council members and city department heads to take a deep breath, refocus, and come up with a plan that make the best use of the remaining $9 million in stimulus funding.

It’s time to prioritize and live with it, even if someone ends up disappointed.

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