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Franklin County finalizes plan for spending compact money

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MALONE - Plans for gaming compact funds have been submitted and the Franklin County Board of Legislators put its stamp of approval on them on Thursday.

The county, along with the towns of Fort Covington and Bombay, all devised plans for how they plan to spend long-awaited Akwesasne Mohawk Casino compact funds.

With the county’s approval, the plans will be sent on to Empire State Development (ESD) to be okayed. ESD is the state’s chief economic development agency, according to its website.

Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay, chairman of the legislature, said ESD could send the plans back after review, but Legislator Tim Smith, D-Fort Covington, said hopefully that will not be the case.

The county is set to receive $1.8 million in compact funds, which officials plan to use as reimbursement for funds it has already spent on economic development. Part of the money will reimburse the county for $554,598 it spent for tourism promotion.

“Further, the county has spent $1,777,764 for expenses associated with development of the natural gas pipeline,” according to the plan, which then notes that these two costs amount to $2,332,362, which is $532,362 more than the county is set to receive.

“ ... the excess of the expenditures over available compact funds, for these two initiatives alone, demonstrates the importance of these funds to Franklin County,” the plan states.

Bombay and Fort Covington are each set to receive between $900,000 and $1,000,000 in compact funds.

Bombay town officials passed a resolution on May 29 approving a spending plan for the funds.

A total of 50 percent of the money will go toward infrastructure or road maintenance, while 30 percent will be allocated for economic development, such as having a natural gas line built through town and earmarking a section of the town’s recreation park for selling Amish goods or other local products, according to the plan.

Fifteen percent of the money will be allocated to community development, such as improving the town park and trying to secure Community Block Development Grant (CBDG) funds to rehabilitate homes. The remaining 5 percent will go toward equipment for the rescue and fire departments, as shown in the plan.

In Fort Covington, officials developed a “Three-Year Action Plan,” according to a resolution from the town board dated June 13.

The plan appears to be multi-faceted and includes the town devising a plan to increase high-speed Internet accessibility and creating a town website.

The plan also encompasses town road improvements, a program to aid new businesses, improvement of commercial buildings and an “Enhancement Plan” for Water and Mill streets, which includes the streets themselves as well as fixing buildings.

Along with sending the plans to ESD, the legislature also approved sending them to the Central New York Region and the Capital Region Directors of New York State Economic Development Office, as stated in the resolution.

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