Hartford ‘rescue’ money to aid non-profits

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Hartford supervisor Dana Haff
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Hartford supervisor Dana Haff announced on June 14 he would like to spread some of the $224,922.40 in American Rescue Plan Act funds awarded to the Town of Hartford to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that lost money in fundraising opportunities during the Covid-19 pandemic between March 4, 2021 and March 4 of this year.

The Hartford Town Board has already approved three ARPA projects thus far in 2022 including the installation of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, the electrical wiring to do so and new “easy-to-clean” floor tiles to replace carpet in the courtroom, clerk’s office and assessor’s office.

“I think we should share some of these funds with the community other than just using it for town government,” Haff said.

At the monthly board meeting, Haff’s suggestion was unanimously approved by the board to allow 501(c)(3) nonprofits located in the town of Hartford the opportunity to apply for funding that would counteract shortfalls in fundraising.

“One of the allowable uses of some ARPA money is that we can make up what non-for-profits were not able to fundraise due to Covid. We’re not allowed to consider anything prior to March 4, 2021, and there’s a whole year prior to that; businesses were closed. But that’s the way the regulations are, kind of funny,” Haff said.

“There is no end date so I think it’s just as easy if we make the end date March 4, 2022 because the governor (Andrew Cuomo) lifted his restrictions against meetings smaller than 5,000 people on June 15, 2021. So, I think if we say end it one year after that, we’ll be fine.”

Haff described the resolution to be vaguely worded, saying substantiating documentation is required along with the application and that “the town shall advertise in the legal newspaper of the town (Granville Sentinel).”

The Hartford Volunteer Fire Company has already told Haff that between the company and the auxiliary, close to $16,000 altogether is being sought for in grant money.

“I imagine they would be the largest applicant,” Haff said.

When asked by board member Barbara Beecher if churches fell under the 501(c)(3) designation, Haff did some research of his own and shared it with NYVTmedia.

According to 501c3.org, “by default, the U.S. government considers churches to be 501(c)(3) organizations automatically, simply by virtue of existing. That is true regardless of corporate structure or lack thereof.”

“Before we commit to how much money we will give, we need to see what the applications are. If we have $100,000 worth of applications, we obviously can’t do that,” Haff said.

The board will accept applications until Aug. 5 at noon.