The Tompkins County Legislature has approved the use of up to $7 million of the county government’s unassigned fund balance to fund a Community Recovery Fund Program. The program would provide grants in support of community recovery following the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. More details on the availability of funding and program guidelines are to be determined and will be shared widely once codified.
Legislators expressed excitement at the prospect of this fund contributing to the community’s human services and economic recovery among other important initiatives. Legislators are developing this recovery fund program following the acceptance and designation of the federal American Rescue Plan relief funding to support lost County revenue throughout the pandemic and support the county’s capital plan. Legislators also recently set a fund balance policy which requires at least 18% of yearly expenditures to be held in reserves. Details on the county’s budget, including fund balance information can be found on the website.
In the September 15th special Legislature meeting to designate the program, Tompkins County Administration Staff was tasked by the Legislature to consider options to contract with outside entities to administer the program and bring recommendations back to the Legislature. Administration staff is currently assessing possibilities and will inform the Legislature of options at an upcoming meeting.
Legislators Leslie Schill (D-Ithaca), Rich John (D-Ithaca), and Mike Sigler (R-Lansing) had previously been entrusted with putting together the proposal to be discussed by the full Legislature which led to the approval of the up to $7 million fund.
In support of the program, Legislator Schill offered that this program is recommended to make significant, transformative change for the community, and would allow the community to recover and local agencies to help identify and address the most pressing needs.
As more information becomes available Tompkins County will share details with the public and local organizations and agencies who may access the recovery fund program.