Otsego County, with a $1 million award, will lead planning efforts to improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution and create green jobs in the Mohawk Valley Region Economic Development Council area.
The award is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Cleaner, Greener Communities initiative. The Regional Sustainability Planning program, which is the first phase of the CGC program, provides nearly $10 million in funding awarded through a competitive process.
Otsego County is the lead agency for the Mohawk Valley council, a group of six counties that also includes Schoharie County.
Previously, Tompkins County was awarded $1 million for the Southern Tier Region council, which includes Chenango and Delaware counties. The governor announced Monday that all 10 state councils have been awarded funding for the planning phase.
"The Cleaner Greener Southern Tier plan is well positioned to incorporate the region's initiatives including sustainability plans, expanding on alternative transportation options, and bridging community goals for a holistic look at our energy footprint as a region," Erik Miller, director of the Southern Tier East Regional Planning and Development Board, said in a media release.
Cuomo announced his environmental initiative in his 2011 State of the State address. The Cleaner, Greener Communities program will provide $100 million through competitive grants.
Awards for the second phase of the CGC program will be made early next near, said Dayle Zatlin, spokeswoman for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which will administer the program.*
Karen Sullivan, planning director for Otsego County, said the successful Consolidated Funding Application was the result of team work, including support from the city of Rome and the Otsego County Conservation Association.
Economic development and planning departments of Otsego and Oneida counties will lead the planning process for the region, a media release from NYSERDA said.
"Otsego County is proud to be the sponsor of the application to the Cleaner, Greener Communities Program and looks forward to working with the Mohawk Valley Region and its stakeholders to plan and eventually implement energy-efficient, environmentally safe and sound projects that will be economically beneficial to the Mohawk Valley Region," Sullivan said in the release.
"We're in the very infancy of the process," Sullivan said Monday. "We've got a lot to do."
Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said the award was "extremely well-timed."
"A task force of city residents has just completed a document, Oneonta 2030, which makes a series of recommendations for wide-ranging actions to make Oneonta a fully sustainable community," Miller said in the release. "The Common Council and I are working to address these recommendations in our multiyear financial and capital plans."
*Editor's note: This story was changed at 10:15 a.m. June 27 to clarify which awards will be made next year.