Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a joke Tuesday that the state would give millions more in funding to help struggling cities revitalize their downtowns, but many cities took him seriously.
The Democratic governor made the remarks in Hudson, where he announced that the city had won his downtown revitalization contest, which gives $10 million to ten winning communities.
“What we’re going to do because we have so many good plans, we’re going to have just ten first place winners that would receive $10 million,” he said. “We’re going to have second place winners also that win $5 million … We’re going to have third place winners that win $2.5 million, fourth place winners that win $1 million and a set of steak knives.”
Cuomo was trying to be funny, but at least one municipality — the city of Auburn — briefly thought they just won millions in funding.
Cuomo’s spokeswoman said Wednesday the reference to second-, third- or fourth-place winners was a joke, but thought the comments “did not come off that way.”
His office says Cuomo has made the joke in past speeches.