JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – The call for additional funding to a senior home improvement project in Jamestown is raising questions from some on the City’s Council.
Confusion surrounds Jamestown’s Senior Citizen Home Improvement Program which was believed to be fundined in its entirety last year. However, now the effort is seeking an unbudgeted additional allotment.
“302 applications were approved,“ explained Councilwoman Marie Carruba. “Totaling $1,878,000 dollars, but only $1.5 million was allocated. 54 applications have been completed, 15 are partially completed. Fortunately some of those projects are under budget, so there may be funds coming back.”
The project needs an additional $300,000 dollars to continue into the New Year. Lawmakers like councilman Jeffery Russell are questioning the reasoning behind this new ask.
“We sat in this room, on tape, and we were told that if this was approved that program would be fully funded,“ stated Councilman Russell. “So now we’re going back and we’re telling senior citizens that, oh sorry we were wrong on our numbers. So I guess I’m asking, where were we wrong, and who was wrong on these numbers? Because we’re going to sit here now, and we’re all going to have egg on our face to the people that we’re representing.”
Originally allocated $500,000 dollars, the program was extremely popular, with city council reallocating an additional one million dollars from other programs last fall.
“To take some from the 19-A, and then also take another fund from ARPA,” explained Councilwoman Eckland. “Which is what we did, and what we voted on, with the understanding that it would be whole. So I guess I’m really at a disconnect as well.”
Even if the program is given more funding, it still may not be enough.
“My email from Lisa (Assessor Lisa Volpe) states that there are still 63 projects left unfunded, so even though you’re telling him it’s $300,000 dollars, 63 projects is not $300,000 dollars,“ stated Councilwoman Eckland. “So I got a whole conglomerate of numbers that don’t make sense.”
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist reassured council members that there has always been a need for the $1.8 million dollars. The lawmaking body however feels there was a disconnect in the initial proposal for those behind the program.
The original funding discussion for the Senior Citizen Home Improvement Program took place at the council’s October 3 work session. A complete livestream of the meeting can be found on the city’s website.