State budget makes 'substantial investment' in Mohawk Valley

Apr 19, 2017

Legislators from the Mohawk Valley say they are disappointed with this year's budget process, but pleased with the outcome.

Sen. Joe Griffo (R-Rome) says there are many benefits for residents of the Mohawk Valley in the new budget. Griffo says state lawmakers have allocated $300 million for a new hospital in downtown Utica, $600 million for the nano technology project in Marcy and $2 million to help renovate the Utica memorial auditorium.

"When you look at it, and compile the statistics and couple all of the projects, it’s over $1 billion," Griffo said. "So, I think that is a substantial demonstration of investment from the state of New York into this community."

Griffo is also touting the $2 million lawmakers set aside to help the state's refugee resettlement agencies. Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) says it could stabilize agencies like the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, which are cutting staff as the Trump administration attempts to reduce the number of incoming refugees.

"Because of the uncertainty at the federal level, many refugees may not be coming to these upstate communities, but these resettlement agencies still have to provide services to refugees that are here," Brindisi said. "I think this is a great acknowledgement on the state’s part that refugees play an important role in many of our upstate communities in revitalizing neighborhoods and starting new businesses and becoming contributing members of society. This money will help further the transition services to help put refugees on the path of seeking the American dream."

The resettlement agencies originally requested $12 million, but the president of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees Shelly Callahan says she's thrilled with the funding. Callahan says it will prevent further job and service losses.