A look into the money and the process ahead for the village of Wellsville
By Andrew Harris
“Well the money isn’t in our bank account,” quipped Village of Wellsville Mayor Randy Shayler.
The massive grant award, about double the current village tax rolls, will be appropriated by New York State based the success of the local effort to invest the funding. That process will unfold during 2023 and into 2024, and it will require the local stakeholders to work efficiently, effectively, and diligently.
This will be a real undertaking for the people of Wellsville. To actually see this $4,500,000 dollars invested in the village, the effort will require some key elements:
- Investors with really good ideas. Based on rough estimates and initial guidance from NY, Wellsville needs about $10 million in potential projects, maybe more. Every project won’t get selected, but without a robust list of choices, Wellsville may only see $800,000 of this grant.
- A steering committee full of what Mayor Shayler calls, “movers and shakers.” The state will require a large group, 12 community servants who are ready to commit to the time and energy that will be required for success. This committee will require approval from NYS and will have to basically apply for the job and be approved.
- Community involvement. The process will include public meetings, similar to those when a local law is before the government. Public meetings are not exactly popular events, often no residents attend. Shayler made it clear that if the public hearings required for this $4.5 million dollar opportunity are not well attended, the effort could fall flat.
Shayler has talked with a representative from NY State who will act as a “account manager” of sorts. This state overlord will have executive authority over much of the process; from forming the steering committee to awarding the funding.
The first order of business will be to form the steering committee. Once established that committee will begin what can best be described as a “scoping process.” That starts with formulating a list of big picture ideas. Housing, outdoor recreation, Main Street building repair, green energy are examples which once agreed upon, will act as a template for accepting more specific projects. If your project or idea doesn’t fall under the umbrella of this big picture list, it likely won’t be considered.
Once that big picture list is finished, each item will be again “scoped,” into more specific ideas. For example, Housing projects may include: Affordable, luxury, temporary, and group housing. If your idea is to develop more subsidized housing, it wouldn’t be considered.
The steering committee will then work from that, more detailed list, in order to best identify the projects which will be pursued.
After that scoping process is complete, creating a master list of potential projects will begin. Each potential project will be considered by the steering committee and hopefully earn the full support of the village of Wellsville, and most importantly NYS.
“When a project gets through the process and a more serious planning phase begins, the state will provide additional assistance to the investor. They will help move the idea forward and act as a free resource for the project,” Shayler explained.
Those resources from the state could themselves amount to a major grant award. Investors who are working with private equity or commercial lenders must fund all the groundwork, like engineering or permitting. For these projects, investors can tap into the resources of NYS, which should streamline the process.
Shayler stressed that this is a step-by-step process, totally regulated by NY State. Wellsville’s ability to work through that process is the key to success. Should Wellsville be unable to bring together a steering committee, or draw suitable investors, or be unable to marshall community support?
The $4.5 million dollars could become a lost opportunity and one that may not be provided to Wellsville again.
Stay tuned for news about step 1, forming a 12-member steering committee.