County seeks public input on ARPA funds

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Albany County is seeking public input into how the federal ARPA funds should be used. Courtesy of Pexels

ALBANY — Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy and the Albany County Legislature last week released the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Public Engagement Survey, seeking community input on how to utilize the second tranche of federal funding secured for the county.

Albany County residents are encouraged to participate by completing the survey and returning it electronically, by mail or in person.

A range of questions will give members of the public the opportunity to voice their opinion on how the ARPA funds should be prioritized to continue the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown.

“The ARPA funding secured by President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and our New York Congressional Delegation has been indispensable for Albany County. While the first tranche of federal dollars was critical to addressing sales tax revenue shortfalls to ensure county government could properly respond to the pandemic, we must now look ahead to the types of projects that will allow us to continue moving forward, stronger than before,” Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said.

Some segments of the population were more adversely impacted by the pandemic than others, he added.

“Whether it’s our seniors and those with underlying health conditions, families with school-aged children, small business owners, minority communities, frontline workers or others, we know that COVID has had a disproportional impact on some compared to others,” McCoy said. “With this survey, we want to get input from our residents to help ensure that our recovery is equitable, effective and forward-thinking.”

Categories for investments include community health and wellness, economic recovery and growth, quality of life, homelessness and housing, and public safety, among others.

“The opportunities that the American Rescue Plan Act funding affords Albany County are significant as it provides a comprehensive approach to implementing real solutions to outstanding, ongoing issues in our neighborhoods,” Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce said. “Through robust public input we will be able to identify and fund projects that can reach across a multitude of sectors, from infrastructure and housing, to public safety and health. Community members know what is best for their communities and what is needed to help strengthen our County so we encourage every resident to take a few minutes to fill out the survey. Only then can we ensure that we are investing the people’s money responsibly.”

 Responses to the survey will be used to gauge community interest in the various ways the ARPA funds can be utilized in the county.

“In a joint effort with the county executive and the county Legislature, we are excited to release this survey that will allow us to hear from county residents about their priorities and how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted their families, businesses and lives,” said Albany County Comptroller Susan Rizzo. “It is essential that the funds are used within the legal parameters set by the federal government and in the most efficient and fiscally prudent way, while meeting the needs of the communities that were most disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

 Everyone in the county is encouraged to complete the survey to ensure all residents have input into the decision-making process.

“It is important that everyone fills out this survey as it will give us guidance on how we should utilize the ARPA funds for projects that residents are interested in,” said Legislative Black Caucus Chairman William Clay. “Hearing from those impacted the most by the pandemic means a more targeted response and importantly, more resources going toward finding a solution.”

The federal funds issued through ARPA will give the county the opportunity to make improvements to infrastructure and to meet other needs in the community, Legislature Minority Leader Frank Mauriello said.

“Through the American Rescue Plan, Albany County has been given a historic opportunity to make important investments in our towns and communities, ranging from public investment in broadband services to enhanced economic development opportunities. It’s critical that the public weigh in to make their priorities known to us so that we can make sure this funding is used in ways that will best serve the County. I encourage everyone to take the survey and believe this process can only move forward with strong public input,” Mauriello said.

Those wishing to complete the survey are asked to respond by visiting the website at albanycountyarpa.org/survey/ or by mail or dropping it off in person by Wednesday, Nov. 16.

A hard copy of the survey can also be picked up at the Harold L. Joyce Albany County Office Building at 112 State St. in Albany or at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County at 24 Martin Road in Voorheesville. The online survey is available in multiple languages to encourage widespread participation.

Once a physical copy of the survey is filled out by an Albany County resident, surveys can be dropped off in person at either of the two locations listed above or sent by mail to the Office of the Albany County Executive at 112 State St, Room 1200, Albany, NY 12207.

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