Planning Commission offers survey on ideas and priorities for Covid relief funds

NEWFANE — The Planning Commission is asking the community for input on the best ways to spend federal and state COVID-19 relief funds.

Residents and property owners will receive the survey by mail with postage-paid return envelopes; the survey can also be filled out online. Copies of the survey will also be available at the Town Office.

The survey asks participants to share their opinion on the priority of four topics: community life, economic sustainability, housing access, and transportation.

“Three years ago, the commission completed the Newfane Town Plan,” commission member and former chair Lynn Forrest said in a news release. “We are using that document as our starting point, and we want to hear from community members about new priorities or concerns that have arisen particularly as a result of the pandemic.”

“We need everyone's input so our spending reflects our community and our values,” said the current chair, Ken Estey.

The Planning Commission had originally planned to hear the community's opinions at town-wide “planning parties,” which, as described in the news release, would be “fun, inclusive, and celebrate our community's resilience through a difficult pandemic year.”

Because of the increased risks of COVID-19 posed by the Delta variant of the Coronavirus, the commission is using surveys instead.

The four-question survey asks respondents how they would allocate $100 of hypothetical money “over four important issues, and then choose the ones [they] think Newfane should implement.”

The areas are housing access, economic sustainability, transportation, and community life.

In addition, those responding can select within each category to indicate their preference among multiple community projects.

Participants can submit survey forms by mail or by filling out the survey online. All responses must be returned by Friday, Oct. 15.

After the results have been collected, they will be summarized and the recommendations given to the Selectboard at its Nov. 1 meeting.

The commission will also discuss the survey with students at Leland & Gray Union High School.

“The commission is asking people to think big and small about what is needed for our town. We will not have enough funds to do everything immediately, but your visions will help create a roadmap for the future,” Estey said.

As a bonus, the first 50 people to submit a survey will get a voucher for a free Tuesday Taco or Breakfast Sammy at the Newfane Store.

The planning commission will host one more online forum to discuss funds coming to the town and present the survey on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m., on Zoom.

Go to for a Zoom link or email Planning Commission member Kate Gehring at [email protected] for more information.

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