Seward announces 'SUNY Impact Aid' funding for Cortland

Senator James L. Seward announces a $200,000 grant for the City of Cortland to help offset public safety costs generated due to being a SUNY host community. From left, Cortland Downtown Partnership Executive Director Adam Megivern, Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin, Senator Seward, Cortland Community Police Officer Jesse Abbott.

CORTLAND, N.Y. — For the third year in a row, the city of Cortland will receive $200,000 in special state funding to help offset costs related to hosting a SUNY campus.

New York State Sen. James Seward (R-Oneonta) came to the newly opened Gorgers restaurant in downtown Cortland Friday morning to announce the funding, which was included in the recently adopted 2018-2019 New York State budget.

The event also served as a ribbon cutting for the restaurant, which was opened by Ithaca restauranteur Barton Diamond in March.

The city began receiving the funding as part of a pilot program spearheaded by Sen. Seward in 2016. This year's award will bring the three-year total for the city of Cortland to $594,500.

“Our SUNY schools are a real asset – educating our future leaders, and helping drive the local economy," Sen. Seward said. "However, there is a financial trade-off that goes overlooked and local taxpayers should not be left holding the bag. The SUNY Impact Aid funding is genuine mandate relief.”

Significant student populations present several public policy challenges for local governments, one of which is providing adequate public safety services to both students and the public while striking the appropriate balance between other municipal needs and available resources, the senator said.

Seward has proposed legislation that includes a formula to distribute state aid to municipalities hosting four-year SUNY schools. The bill been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, and companion legislation has been introduced in the state assembly by Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton.

Photo 2, suggested caption:  Sentator James L. Seward walks along Main Street Cortland to review several new downtown renovations and planned development projects.  From left, Cortland Downtown Partnership Executive Director Adam Megivern, Senator Seward,  Cortland Community Police Officer Jesse Abbott.