Chautauqua County is not one of those counties that has benefited unfairly from road and bridge funding approved so far under the federal government's economic stimulus package, an analysis shows.
Recently, an Associated Press study found that stimulus dollars announced so far are not going where they are needed the most and that stimulus spending is 50 percent higher in counties with the lowest unemployment rates compared to counties with the highest even though it is meant to put people back to work.
That holds true across New York state, according to an analysis of AP's figures by the OBSERVER. According to the analysis, eight of the top 10 counties receiving the most stimulus money per person in New York state are not in the top 10 for unemployment.
At the top of the list is Genesee County, which stands to gain $5.5 million in stimulus funding approved so far, or $93.81 per person, even though it ranks 34th in unemployment with a rate of 8.9 percent.
Next is Seneca County, which stands to gain $3.1 million, or $91.70 per person, even though it ties Genesee County with an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.
Likewise, eight of the 10 counties with the highest unemployment rates are not in the top 10 for stimulus funding. At the very bottom is Lewis County, which stands to gain only $842,667, or $31.83 per person, with an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent. Next is Hamilton County, population 5,075, which has so far gotten nothing but has an unemployment rate of 11.8 percent.
That doesn't hold true for Chautauqua County. With an unemployment rate of 9 percent, according to AP's figures, Chautauqua County ranks 33rd in unemployment. And with the county slated to receive $3.8 million, or $28.09 per person, it ranks 32nd in the stimulus funding category.
According to AP, its figures were based on stimulus funding approved as of April 1, but its figures for Chautauqua County do not match earlier figures released by the county executive's office.
According to county figures released in late March, the Chautauqua County Public Facilities Administration is so far scheduled to receive $2.5 million for road and bridge work, most of which is going to the reconstruction of Hunt Road from the Jamestown city limits to South Maple Street and the reconstruction of Route 430 and Mahanna Road from the eastern outskirts of Bemus Point all the way to Ellery Center.
Another $9.7 million in stimulus funding will be spent in the county by the state Department of Transportation, most of which will go to work along I-86 and the replacement of the Washington Street bridge in Jamestown, which was in the works long before the economic stimulus package was passed.
However, AP's figures might include funding approved after the county's figures were released in late March, and they could include funding for agencies other than the public facilities administration.
According to an analysis by the OBSERVER, only two counties are in the top 10 for both stimulus funding and unemployment. Schoharie County, which will receive $3 million in stimulus funding or $93.60 per person and has an unemployment rate of 11.2 percent, ranks third in stimulus funding and fourth in unemployment. And Steuben County, which will receive $29 million in stimulus funding or $298.92 per person and has an unemployment rate of 11 percent, ranks first and seventh in both categories.