ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – 18 News is investigating how cities in our region are spending millions of dollars in federal funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. It was signed into law by President Biden in March of 2021. The City of Elmira received $28,270,386 in two rounds. Freedom of Information requests submitted by 18 News show the City has spent $8,395,327.11. That’s 29.69%.
Some of the biggest amounts include $2,296,442.59 to repair the clock tower at City Hall. So far, the City has spent only $7,094.61.
$1,200,000 was allocated to Dunn Field. $55,954.44 has been spent so far.
$2,200,000 was allocated for the Centertown Parking Garage in downtown Elmira. $509,465.81 has been spent so far.
$2,000,000 was allocated for the Mark Twain Golf Course irrigation system. $97,687.30 has been spent so far. The golf course received another $410,000 to remove dead or decaying trees. $368,000 has already been spent.
$446,076.50 was allocated for removing dead and decaying trees at Woodlawn Cemetery. $429,133.22 has already been spent.
Records show the tree removal was performed by “Great Lakes Tree Services.” The company’s website lists its location as Sinclairville, New York.
$4,337,184.50 was allocated for a Property Rehab repair Program for homeowners. 846 people applied to receive up to $5,000 each. $3,565,030.05 has already been spent.
$1,244,877.89 was allocated for the “Property Rehab Medium-Sized Commercial Grants Pool.” 54 businesses applied to receive up $25,000 each. $455,262,48 has been spent so far.
$1,500,000 was allocated for a “Major Tourism Projects Grant Pool.” Records show none of the money has been spent so far.
$450,000 was spent to fix the First Arena roof.
$600,000 was allocated to demolish the Brand Park pool and build a splash pad in its place.
$250,000 was allocated for the FLOCK License Plate Cameras that are already up around the city.
$1,393,950 was allocated for “Premium Pay for Employees.” $1,251,002.11 has already been spent. Records show 166 full-time “active” City of Elmira employees received $5,000 each. 39 part-time “active employees received $2,500 each. 20 seasonal “active employees” received $1,000 each.17 full-time “terminated” employees received $5,000 each. 6 part-time “terminated” employees received $2,500. 8 seasonal “terminated” employees $1,000. Premium pay was also received by employees at Community Development and the Woodlawn Cemetery.
$312,177.35 was allocated for “City of Elmira Public Relations.” $89,026.78 has already been spent. Records show in 2022, $64,479.48 was used for the base salary, insurance opt-out, pension contribution, Social Security and Medicare for the City’s Public Relations Liaison. In 2023, $16,820.09 was allocated for the base salary, pension, Social Security and Medicare for the same position. Records show the 2023 salary of the City’s Publicity Liaison is $54,275.
$2,000,000 was allocated for “Stormwater/Sanitary Sewers Maintenance.” $66,695.71 has been spent so far.
$1,245,000 was allocated for “Drinking Water: Transmission & Distribution: Lead Remediation.” $255,000 was allocated for “Drinking Water: Transmission & Distribution.” Records show none of the money has been spent so far.
$345,033.43 was allocated for a “Business Program.” All of the money has been spent. Records show 73 businesses received up to $5,000 each “based on lost profit & lost revenue.”
$129,082.79 was allocated for a “Non-Profit” program. Records show 29 non-profits received up to $5,000 each “based on lost profit & lost revenue.”
You can view some of the documents 18 News obtained from the City of Elmira below: