ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Chemung County is slated to receive more than $16 million from the American Rescue Plan. That money will be used to help the community recover from the pandemic – though officials are warning it may not go as far as hoped.
“$16 million is merely seven percent of the annual operating budget of Chemung County,” Chemung County Executive Chris Moss Said. “It’s not that much money.”
According to Moss, there are limited things the cash can be put towards, though it can be allocated to costs associated with responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality.
It can also be put towards supporting essential workers or revenue losses — like investments in water or sewer — that were a direct cause of the pandemic.
“If there’s a way to give the money to the essential workers that doesn’t neglect people who really need it — like businesses whose doors are about to close or people who aren’t working right now — of course I would support it,” Elmira resident Ryan Durkee said. “They’ve done a difficult job at a difficult time and they’ve earned it.”
Chemung County Officials stated they would also like to see the money reach underserved areas throughout the county.
Elmira residents also told 18 News that the $16 million is needed, though they have different ideas on how it should be spent.
“I would invest [also] heavily in small businesses because I think that’s the only way to make this American rescue plan a permanent fix,” Durkee said.
“While I understand there are a lot of hands out there from non profits to the business sector, we’d like to do something for everybody but what you have to remember is seven percent of our annual operating budget is 16 million dollars,” Moss said. “It’s not a lot of money and it’s not gonna go real far.”