JAMESTOWN – The city of Jamestown – along with other municipalities in Chautauqua County and the rest of New York State – could be adversely affected by an effort to cut funding from a federal program.
Lawmakers in Washington are considering the idea of making a drastic cut to the federal Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. The House has already slashed spending in its version of the bill, with the Senate expected to act on their own version in the coming weeks.
Among the cuts in the House version is a drastic decrease in funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and HOME Investment Partnerships Program – both administered by HUD. According to Senator Charles Schumer, the HOME program alone is proposed to be cut by more than $800 million, or 92-percent.
Jamestown mayor Sam Teresi tells WRFA he and other community leaders from across New York are very concerned with proposed cuts.
“It’s completely insane what is being talked about in the halls of Congress and particularly in the House of Representatives. This is an extremely important program to the city of Jamestown. A lot of our economic development, most of our neighborhood improvements – housing initiatives, rehab programs, inspection program – are paid for out of this federal grant program.”
Teresi said that considering so many communities in the state face economic challenges while also working to maintain or improve downtown infrastructure and housing stock, the HOME and CDBG programs are a critical source of funding that communities can not do without.
The mayor is urging residents in Jamestown to contact their elected officials in Washington and ask that the money be restored.
“This is the best and one of the only good, solid flexible sources of funding that local governments have as a promise from the federal government to help us deal with the rebuilding of our communities, our infrastructure and our economies, and this needs to be stopped,” Teresi said. “People need to pick up the phone and call Congressman Tom Reed’s office, Senator Schumer’s office and Senator Gilibrand’s office, and for good measure, call our former Congressman Brian Higgins up in Buffalo.”
Senator Schumer, meanwhile, has already said that he plans to fight the bill in the Senate.
Meanwhile, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi will be our guest Thursday on WRFA’s weekly public affairs program Community Matters. Not only will he provide more thoughts on the CDBG and HOME cuts, but he’ll also give an update on the 2016 budget process, as well as what impact – if any – the county’s .5 percent sales tax increase will have on the city.
Community Matters airs at 5 p.m. every Thursday on WRFA.