IN FIRST VISIT AS MAJORITY LEADER, SCHUMER TO DISCUSS CHENANGO’S ECONOMIC FUTURE WITH LOCAL LEADERS; SENATOR OUTLINES IMPACT OF MASSIVE COVID RESCUE RELIEF TO COUNTY; SENATOR DELIVERS MILLIONS FOR CHENANGO’S FAMILIES, WORKERS, & SMALL BUSINESSES
Schumer To Make Annual Visit To Chenango To Hear Directly From Local Leaders About County Needs
Senator Will Discuss Economic Challenges Facing County & Deliver Detailed News About The Millions Of Dollars For Chenango Included In The American Rescue Plan
Schumer: Chenango County’s Needs Are A Top Priority
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today made his annual trip to Chenango to meet with local leaders and discuss the economic future of the county. Specifically, Schumer detailed the impact of the American Rescue Plan he led to passage in the Senate on Chenango as $9,169,406 for the county in state and local aid, in addition to $720,000 for the City of Norwich, $400,000 for the Town of Oxford, and $550,000 for the Town of Greene. The senator said overall, the Southern Tier alone is expected to see approximately $334,000,000 in state and local funding alone.
“Communities across the Southern Tier, especially in Chenango County, were hit hard by the pandemic,” said Senator Schumer. “As New York returns to a pre-COVID normal, we must not leave our rural areas behind, which is why I visited Chenango to personally deliver the good news of federal funding that will help the county recover. I made sure everything from broadband to hospitals and schools received funding in the American Rescue Plan and previous COVID relief bills, so Chenango County and the regional economy can make it out of this crisis stronger than they ever were before.”
Schumer explained that as part of the state and local provisions he secured, he made sure that localities would have flexibility in how they used the funding, allowing Chenango County to use a portion of their allotment to improve high-speed internet access for their communities. The senator said that as the pandemic forced everything from school to work to doctor’s appointments online, the digital divide hit rural areas and communities in Chenango the hardest and illustrated the need for better connectivity. The state and local flexibility is on top of the $600,000,000 New York is expected to receive from the FCC to help schools and libraries ensure that students can fully participate in remote learning. Additionally, Schumer said that in December, Congress provided $96 million to the FCC in the Broadband DATA act, which requires the agency to collect and disseminate more granular broadband availability data and establish a process to verify the accuracy of such data. This is important in rural communities like ones in Chenango.
Schools in Chenango County received specific funding totaling over $28 million to prepare for safe reopening procedures to cover costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), physical barriers, and other supplies needed at schools that were not before, like those used for cleaning. Schumer secured the additional funding in order to get students back in classrooms safely, recognizing that the additional costs would badly drain local resources.
The pandemic also left rural hospitals on their last legs, forcing layoffs of staff who were vital to beating back the tide of COVID in New York. Schumer detailed $9 million in funding specifically for Chenango Memorial Hospital, with an additional $700,000 going to other providers in the region.
Schumer also revealed that he had called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ramp up outreach efforts to New York’s farmers and to increase data collection on specialty crops and small farms in the state to ensure that farmers were getting their fair share of the $24 billion in agricultural aid the senator negotiated. This is especially important for Chenango County, which ranks 11th in the state for dairy production and has nearly 190,000 acres of farmland.
Schumer was joined by Kerri Green, President & CEO of Commerce Chenango, Shane Butler, Director of Planning for Chenango County, Melissa Stagnaro UHS Chenango Memorial Director of Fundraising and Business Development, and other Chenango County leaders.