U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, met with Otsego County Treasurer Allen Ruffles and Otsego County Health Director Heidi Bond on Thursday, Jan. 14, to discuss vaccinations and Otsego County's need for federal COVID-19 relief.
According to a media release from the congressman's office, the conversation focused on Ruffles’ efforts to balance Otsego County’s budget and Bond’s need for COVID-19 vaccines.
“Otsego County Treasurer Allen Ruffles has done everything in his power to keep 2021's budget balanced,” Delgado said in the release. “To provide essential services, supply vaccines, and weather the COVID-19 storm, Otsego County needs federal assistance. I thank Treasurer Ruffles and Health Director Bond for their unrelenting work to maintain critical services and protect the public health of Otsego County residents. Counties like Otsego are ready, willing, and able to deliver vaccines. Passage of my bipartisan bill, the Direct Support for Communities Act, would ensure they have the resources required to vaccinate as many residents as possible safely and securely.”
“I thank Congressman Delgado for making us a priority and reaching all parts of his massive district," Ruffles said in the release. "It is critically important to understand what's going on at the local level, as we are the ones who are providing much-needed services to residents. We appreciate the Congressman's hard work and putting our needs and priorities ahead of a political agenda."
“It was a pleasure to meet Congressman Delgado yesterday. It is very evident he takes the health and well-being of his constituents very seriously," Bond said. "I am reassured and hopeful that we will not only see some much-needed financial relief but also see a more strategic COVID-19 response from the federal level, especially around vaccine deployment.”
The bipartisan Direct Support for Communities Act was included in two COVID-19 relief packages that passed the House in 2020. It would ensure that all communities, regardless of population size, receive direct federal funding to assist with lost revenues and other expenses incurred as a result of the pandemic, according to the release. Delgado recently reintroduced the legislation and is urging its inclusion in the next COVID-19 relief package under the new administration.