Steuben County legislators met in-person for the first time in months as well as by teleconference in regular session this morning to discuss the matters before them. Action by the Steuben county board included accepting federal funding for public transportation, urging state leaders to update the state’s Electronics Equipment and Reuse Act and authorizing mutual aid between county public health departments in the Finger Lakes. Federal grants totaled $813,000 for transportation needs in Steuben County. Funding from the CARES Act, amounting to $247,000, will be directed to the Institute of Human Services for mobility management while some $564,000 will be sent to First Transit and Steuben Area Rides for public busing operations. Steuben lawmakers also supported a bill before the state Legislature expected to shift the cost of recycling electronic equipment back to the manufacturers to save county residents the cost of the $15 recycling fee they are now charged to dispose of televisions and monitors at the county landfill and transfer stations.
Since March 14th, Steuben County has been under Emergency Operations for the response to COVID-19 and over the past few months the Office of Emergency Services along with the Public Health Department and County Manager ran the most extensive operation for the County yet. The primary function during much of the operation was logistical support of medical supplies to hospitals, nursing homes, first responders and a host of others in our community. The Office of Emergency Services reports over 30,000 Eye Disposable masks, over 3,000 sets of vinyl gloves, over 400 gallons of hand sanitizer were distributed over the past 91 days.
Primary elections in New York state take place tomorrow as the Democratic Presidential race and SAM Party primaries will occur. Today is the last day to vote in those elections for the early voting period. These primary elections will determine the party nominees that will be running for General election day scheduled for November 3rd.
Over $100 million will now be available for mortgage forbearance and rent assistance in New York State. Last week, Governor Cuomo signed a series of bills aiming to cover the emergency response of the COVID-19 pandemic and includes up to $100 million in rent subsidies to eligible New Yorkers based on income and other related criteria. The funds come from the stimulus package that was approved by Congress and signed back March by President Trump. This new mortgage forbearance law allows New Yorkers to delay payments for up to 360 days and also covers several other fiscal protections.
The New York State Assembly hosts a virtual hearing today for businesses that continue to struggle through the coronavirus pandemic. Legislators will be discussing the economic hurdles businesses have had to deal with and challenges they expect to face in the near future. Legislators will also review the federal response to the pandemic like the Paycheck Protection Program.
The state Department of Labor reports May’s unemployment rate dropped to 14.5% from a high of 15.3% in April. The report also found the state economy added 137,000 jobs, or a 2.1% increase while first-time unemployment claims currently sit at about 90,000 weekly.
Despite health officials’ approval to voting by mail as a means to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus President Trump says widespread mail-in voting would benefit Democrats and alleged without evidence that mail voting will lead to massive fraud. New York Governor Cuomo responded that he thinks Trump is trying to “set up” the idea that mail-in voting will lead to election fraud and giving him an out should the 2020 Presidential Election not fall in the president’s favor. The turnout of primary elections in the US has surged since introducing the mail-in ballots for voters to cast their vote, suggesting the idea of remotely casting a ballot has been popular with the greater public.