Covid stimulus money sparks clashes within cities and counties

Dutchess County residents were similarly excited, if less vocal, about the stadium when they met on June 14. The guidance issued by the Treasury Department on the use of the funds specifically called stadiums “generally not adequately proportionate to deal with the negative economic impact of the pandemic”.

So why, asked those present, did this happen?

Marc Molinaro, the county executive, defended the spending, saying Dutchess County has seen $33 million in lost revenue due to the pandemic and under Biden administration guidance, stimulus funds could actually be used to invest in things like the stadium.

“It’s basically any structure, facility, thing that you own as a government that you can invest those dollars in with a lot of leeway,” Mr. Molinaro said.

In a recent interview, Mr. Molinaro said the county must be careful not to incur expenses that cannot be paid when federal funds run out because the funds are one-offs.

He added that the investment in the stadium would bring Dutchess County a steady stream of revenue — money that he said would allow the government to pay for the kinds of programs Democrats wanted.

The investment, he said, “allows us to have 25 years of revenue that we can invest in expanding mental health, homelessness and substance abuse services.”

This explanation did not appease everyone.

“I was just devastated that we spent the money like this,” Ms Kearney, the Democratic MP, said in an interview. “It was such a betrayal of our community. So grossly inappropriate and completely deaf to the needs of the people of Dutchess who have suffered.”

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