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Opinion: Sophomoric Management Fails Valley Communities

Written By Editor on 1/15/14 | 1/15/14

Governor Cuomo's initial announcement of $12 million for four of Schoharie County's worst hit communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee seemed like a miracle for the Villages of Middleburgh and Schoharie and the Village and Town governments of Esperance. It offered a chance to not only further rebuild their communities, but to offer local incentives to small business, conduct stream remediation efforts and much more.

And then it didn't.
Rather than allowing the local municipalities to decide where the money would best be spent, as was originally intended, the NY Rising program was altered and local elected officials lost control of the funds and were left with only submitting ideas for consideration to the Community Reconstruction Program (CRP) committee. Even worse, funds no longer had to be earmarked for specific boundaries - meaning the end result could theoretically have all $12 million going into a single route 30 corridor wide project.

It would be unfair to everyone involved to not describe the state's poor handling of these funds as nonsensical, due primarily to the bind it places on local officials within their own communities by having them explain why "their money" might end up going to some other project. Not to mention the lets put it together as we go along mentality of the NY Rising program screams of sophomoric management by the governor's administration. There have been heroic efforts on the parts of the CRP Committee and Co-Chairs Georgia van Dyke and Sarah Goodrich to make sure that the money is well spent, but this in no way excuses the format of the program set up by the governor's office.

Now the Community Reconstruction Program is reportedly close to prioritizing projects for funding under the NY Rising Program and elected officials are preparing for the committee's next meeting on Thursday, January 23rd, 7pm at the Schoharie Town Hall (the 300) to weigh in on their communities specific priorities. Great, but the real question remains: will their last minute pleas make any difference?

At this point, we already know the answer to that.

All we can do is hope that the committee acts reasonably and that the state doesn't repeat its mistakes with the new $12 million in funding the Schoharie News exclusively reported has been awarded to the Towns of Blenheim, Fulton, Middleburgh and Schoharie. Once again, however, we probably already know the answer to that...
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