Rescue plan

Schenectady bailout law committee to begin reviewing applications – The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY — A committee tasked with providing recommendations on how the city should spend millions in coronavirus relief funding is expected to begin reviewing dozens of applications from organizations seeking funding next week.

City Council President Marion Porterfield said Monday that the 18 people who will make up the city’s American Rescue Plan Act advisory committee are currently undergoing training and will begin the process of reviewing 71 applications from organizations to the seeking combined funding of $75 million next week.

Council members voted to formally appoint committee members earlier this month, nearly four months after agreeing to form the committee in January, following a series of public forums last year where residents have repeatedly asked to have a say in how the funds will be distributed. .

But the process for forming the committee bogged down as board members scrambled to work out details around the application process and guidelines to make it easier to review applications.

It was eventually decided that committee members should have no connection to the organization’s funding applications and that members would use the same review guidelines when reviewing applications that the development department uses. of the city, which has already examined each request.

More than 30 people expressed interest in participating, but only 18 ultimately applied to serve on the committee.

The members are:

Elizabeth Mastrianni; James LaPoint; Fred Durocher; Sean O’Brien; Brendan Wild; Sheila Palmer; Shave Richard; Michelle Lupe; Bob Mantello; Ray Faught; Cynthia Farmer; Eleanor Pepper; Keith St. John; Dawn Meifert; Jean-Marie Secovic; Christine Palmer; Ifrecak Miller; and Pat Smith.

Members will be responsible for providing recommendations on how the money should be spent, but it will ultimately be up to the city council to decide how the funds are spent.

The city received just under $53 million under the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill approved by Congress last year that provided billions of dollars in funding to local governments to help with pandemic recovery efforts.

A $26 million tranche of funding was received by the city last year and millions have already been spent by the city to recoup lost revenue, fill dozens of vacancies and relocate the Central Park swimming pool, leaving around $11 million to spend – far less than the organizations are asking for.

The city is expected to open a second round of applications later this year after receiving a second round of funding of $26 million.

The money can be used for a number of things, including water, sewer and broadband infrastructure projects, providing a bonus for essential workers and helping with pandemic recovery efforts.

Funds must be allocated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026. Unspent money must be returned to the federal government.

Contact journalist Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.

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