BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The city of North Tonawanda and the city of Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood are getting $10 million each in downtown revitalization money from the state.

Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin announced the latest winners of a $200 million pool the state is spreading evenly across 10 regions.

"These kinds of projects, these kinds of investments help to grow jobs, help to create a better quality of life for all New Yorkers," Benjamin said.

The state is doubling its investment in downtown revitalization after holding back the money last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But even as the administration looks to move forward, it's dealing with hospitalization surges and preparing for a new variant of the virus.

"We have been working and communicating very regularly with our regional and local partners in this era of collaboration because it should not be a one-size fits all as you deal with COVID," Benjamin said.

The administration continues to defer to county governments when it comes to policy on things like mask and vaccine mandates. That has led to different rules, for instance, in the two parts of the region that got revitalization money, even though North Tonawanda directly borders Erie County.

"I think having a scalpel approach as opposed to a sledge hammer approach is more appropriate, and that's the approach the governor's using and I support that," Benjamin said. "We will see how we decide what's the right balance between state power and local power."

Hochul would have to go to the Legislature if she wants similar emergency powers to what the previous administration wielded at the beginning of the pandemic. Benjamin did not want to speak for what the governor might do in the future but he believes, for now, depoliticizing the issue could go a long way toward a more cohesive response.

"The partisanship is making the situation worse and we need to remove that out of this process to save all lives. COVID will kill you whether you're a Republican or Democrat, whether you're white or you're black, whether you're old or young so we have to have a one New York strategy." he said.