JAMESTOWN, NY – Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi isn’t mixing words when it comes to criticizing one of the many cuts being proposed by President Donald Trump in his recently released “skinny” budget.
“It will be devastating if this ill-conceived notion will be allowed to go into place… I can not begin to imagine where this city would be, where this community would be, had somebody in year’s past proposed what’s being proposed today. It’s unconscionable.”
Those were the comments from Teresi during Monday’s Jamestown City Council work session, in response to President’ Trump’s proposal to cut $6 billion from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and totally eliminate it’s long-standing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership (Home) programs.
According to the mayor, both programs have been invaluable components in assisting with building and infrastructure investments across the country.
“[The complete elimination of CDBG and Home programs] is something that I would characterize as a travesty – devastating to the city of Jamestown and cities and local governments all across New York State and throughout the country,” Teresi said.
As part of his comments, the mayor provided several handouts, illustrating how the two programs have made an impact on the city since 1990. According to the data, the two programs have provided Jamestown with nearly $50.7 million in investment funding between 1990 and 2016, averaging out to about $1.13 million each year.
With that money, the city has been able to make improvements to everything from city infrastructure upgrades to handicapped accessibility compliance, from rental rehab and demolitions to owner-occupied home rehab improvements, and from downtown façade improvements to public health and safety remediations. Some of the money has also been used to help support the administrative cost of the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency and Code Enforcement departments.
Teresi said he has already been in contact with the state’s congressional delegation – including U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as Congressman Tom Reed – to voice his concern over the proposed cuts, and said all three have voiced their support for keeping the programs in place. He is also encouraging the city council to pass a resolution later this month, calling for Congress to not follow through on the proposed cuts put forward by the president.
Also on Monday, Senator Schumer released a statement regarding the proposed elimination of the two programs, reiterating much of what Teresi had said:
“Decimating CDBG would be incredibly damaging to Upstate New York because it is a non-replaceable stream of investment in essential services for area residents and economic development projects. That is why I would fight these drastic cuts tooth and nail to make sure the CDBG program remains fully funded and that Upstate New York gets the money it deserves. More than ever, we need to make sure our local governments and communities have the resources they need to modernize their infrastructure, deliver vital services to working families and seniors and continue the neighborhood revitalization efforts critical to local economic development.”