In a recent post, I noted that Ontario County in Canandaigua received a grant of $12,000 in 1856 from the Federal government to provide for a new post office and a Federal court room. The old Ontario County court house built nearby in 1824 had outlived its usefulness, and it was time to build a new facility. The Ontario County Board of Supervisors sold the old court house to the town and village of Canandaigua for $4000 and raised and additional $40,000 for the new court house.
I then raised the following question: What would the Finger Lakes look like today if there were no Federal funds? Immediately I thought of the build out of New York’s Eire Canal System, the railroads that run through the Finger Lakes, and the New York Thruway. Upon further investigation, it appears that the state of NY funded the Erie Canal, the railroads were privately built, and the NY Thruway was built with bonds bought by NY taxpayers.
In yesterday’s Canandaigua Daily Messenger, John Baun of Naples, NY got a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) (funded by 10 million dollars in Federal money) to install a $45,000 solar electric system on his family farm property for $23,000. His electric bill is now $200 per year. Do you remember the recent “cash of clunkers” program where you traded in your old car or truck for a new more energy efficient one? Or how about trading in your old appliances for new ones and get a cash rebate? These new Federal grants are directed to help us spend our money to save on energy costs. I’m all for saving on our energy bills but I am much more concerned with how folks who live in the Finger Lakes are going to make their living in the future.
James R. Bupp