It's not every day that a last-place finish has a $49 million prize attached to it. So it may seem like sour grapes to complain about how the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council made out in the recent round of award announcements presented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But as generous as the dollar amount may be, we can't be happy with coming in last.

The council, which represents eight counties along the southern edge of central New York, including Chenango and Delaware, received the smallest amount of money among the 10 councils competing for state funds.

Coming in second-to-last was the Mohawk Valley council, serving a six-county area including Otsego and Schoharie counties. It received about $60 million.

The awards ceremony, held in Albany on Dec. 8, was a love-fest of sorts, with the theme that everyone was a winner. Which, in a sense, is true. No one got turned away; everyone got money.

But it was also a competition. Four of the 10 councils received substantially larger shares of the whopping $785.5 million pile of cash that was on the table.

So why did we finish last? It's tough to say.

No one at the Dec. 8 presentation had anything negative to say about any of the plans. As far as Cuomo and host Maria Bartiromo were concerned, all the plans submitted were equally fantastic. But clearly some plans were more fantastic than others.

Figuring it out, though, is a difficult task. Many of the projects that received funding in the Southern Tier don't seem to be specifically mentioned in the plan posted to the council's website. The plan offers some broad overviews of what it hopes to achieve, but not a lot of detail.

The award includes several medium-sized grants to rehabilitate homes and businesses in Delaware County _ an initiative we fully support. But if council members aren't getting as much money as they had hoped for the work, it could be a hardship to complete these projects in the manner they were intended.

Some projects seem to have received no funding at all. A $5 million plan to improve broadband connectivity in the Cobleskill-Richmondville area is not mentioned among the awards for the Mohawk Valley region.

And although Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said he was "very pleased" about a $200,000 award for the Oneonta Microenterprise Assistance Program, missing from the awards was a $6 million request to help complete much-needed work on the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center in the city.

We don't mean to look a gift horse in the mouth. But neither are we naive enough to buy Cuomo's line from the awards ceremony that all the councils were winners.

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