Cortlandville moves forward on ARP request vetting process

(Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

Cortlandville town board officials will vet a selection of requests from 16 local nonprofits seeking up to $5,000 in federal funds from the town’s $890,000 American Rescue Plan (ARP) allocation.

The proposal was laid out in late April, when the town started seeking grant applications from nonprofit organizations, setting aside $50,000 in ARP funds to award to the organizations. Each grant would consist of no more than $5,000 and applications had a deadline of May 16.

According to town records, the list of organizations that submitted an application is as follows:

  • Disabled American Veterans Post 153
  • Cincinnatus Area Heritage Society (CAHS)
  • Catholic Charities of Cortland County
  • Cortland County Community Action Program (CAPCO) Adult Education Program
  • Cortland County Historical Society
  • Lime Hollow Nature Center
  • Cortland Main Street Music Series
  • The Chapel
  • Seven Valleys Health Coalition
  • YWCA of Cortland
  • Access to Independence of Cortland County, Inc.
  • Lamont Free Memorial Library
  • 4-H Camp Owahta - Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County
  • Josie’s Journey - Canine Comfort Business, Lending a Caring Paw
  • Little York Lake Preservation Society
  • Homer-Cortland Community Agency Inc. - Central New York Living History Center

“Tonight, what we want to do is announce the organizations that are applying for this. At the next meeting, we will schedule a widespread discussion,” Deputy Town Supervisor Jay Cobb said at Wednesday’s Cortlandville town board meeting. “We have 16 organizations and for now we just have to receive and file that list.”

Town board member Jeff Guido asked about the vetting process.

“Should we each (board member) pick a top 10 of requests so that maybe we can compare top 10s as a board?,” he asked.

Cobb said perhaps the town could look at funding some requests under the $5,000 level. 

Town supervisor Tom Williams, who was not directing the meeting due to contracting COVID-19, said the board could look at the importance of every application as it pertains to their relevance to Cortlandville residents.

“I read through the applications and while some of the organizations aren’t in Cortlandville, they do have compelling arguments regarding being granted this funding,” Guido said.

Williams said the town will continue to review their options, seeking to potentially extend even more funding in order to cover the 16 requests.

“We could increase the amount of (ARP) funds available. In this instance, we could say all 16 applications get $5,000, but that would mean we would dip into the American Rescue Plan funds tank and increase the $50,000 pool of funds,” Williams said. “My first inclination is to ask the board, are any of these requests not within the purview of helping our town residents?”

The town board will have a public discussion on the entire slate of applications at its next meeting on June 1.