UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — The City of Utica received the first of two checks for $30 million from the federal government on Wednesday.
“We should treat this $30 million, which will eventually be $60 million, like found money that we can use to do things that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do,” Celeste Friend, Utica Common Councilmember said.
The money is part of the American Rescue Plan Act that was passed by Congress in March of this year. The bill is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan meant to speed up the countries recovery from both the economic impacts and health effects of COVID. The city will have specific guidelines to determine what they can or can’t spend the money on.
“We have to make sure we do follow the rules and in fact,” Friend explained. “The federal government has said here are the interim guidance and that gives us a clue that it might change and it’s really important that we follow those rules because otherwise they have the right to take it back.”
While they are still waiting to hear the exact rules on where they can spend the money, they know for sure that they can’t use the money to reduce property taxes. To get a better understanding of where the community wants the money to go Mayor Robert Palmieri announced yesterday that the city is looking for public input, towards the Utica Prosperity Initiative, which plans on using existing and anticipated resources from the ARPA as well as New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application, the CARES act, and other funding sources.
“By anybody in the city,” Friend said. “Any organization any private person any business can submit a proposal through the website.”
If you’re interested in submitting your ideas to the city you can go to the City of Utica’s website and fill out a form, the public has until June 11 to submit.