Jamestown City Council passed over $5 million in American Rescue Plan funded projects, with four resolutions for economic development related initiatives failing to pass.
Council members Marie Carrubba, Andrew Faulkner, Kim Ecklund, and Randy Daversa voted no on three resolutions related to giving funding to the Small Business Development Center for a business marketing program, a branding and marketing program for the city, and a program to provide marketing funding to businesses. Brent Sheldon was absent at Monday’s meeting, so the resolutions failed on a tie vote. The fourth program that failed was a resolution to contract with the Jamestown Local Development Corporation for $500,000 to administer the ARPA program.
Council member Faulkner said he voted no because he felt some of the proposed programs were duplicates. He also said other communities have used an average of 11.1% of ARPA funds toward economic development and workforce development, “If we were to allocate the full $7.5 million tonight, that would have been 27% of our entire ARPA funding. From the start, I thought we were pushing too much money toward the economic when we have other issues that need to be dealt with. So seeing those statistics of how we are almost three times higher than what everyone else is doing kind of reassured me of that.”
Faulkner said he wants to see funding more focused on public safety and housing initiatives.
Two programs for business building and infrastructure improvements and equipment and machinery upgrades had funding reduced from $1 million to $500-thousand each under an amendment proposed by Faulkner that council approved. Faulkner said if the programs run out of the money, then the Department of Development can always request additional funds be added.
Council President Tony Dolce said he was surprised that the four resolutions failed. He said one concern some council members had was having enough oversight of how the money was allocated under the proposal to contract to the JLDC for administration, “We have three members on the JLDC board – myself, Councilwoman Ecklund and Councilman Russell, as well as JURA, we have representation. So anything over the $100,000 threshold would have come back to the City Council anyways for a vote. So I’m not so sure.. I mean the whole purpose of having council representation on any board or commissions is to have some oversight and a direct link to the City Council.”
In other business, a request home rule legislation from the state to put speed zone cameras in school zones will move forward.
An ordinance to establish a Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return (TNVR) program for feral cats in the city was approved in addition to a contract with the Chautauqua County Humane Society for $5,000 to run that program.
Council also approved a resolution to purchase 12 mobile data terminals for $40,000 for police vehicles and to purchase 75 service duty pistols for $9,643 using American Rescue Plan funds.