The following is my (Rachel Marco-Havens’) Man-On-The-street take of what little I have learned so far about our economic situation locally, in NY. This page will be updated regularly, as I learn more… Please feel free to add your input in the comments, any help to keep an eye on Economic Development is VERY welcome!!!
I am embarrassed to say that it was a “Not In My Back Yard” reaction to the Niagara Bottling Nightmare proposal that inspired me to educate myself more on my surroundings. But, the enriching thing has been to wake up. As the grogginess clears away I am finding many others, who have been, and are waking up to make change.
While I have never been an activist I am blessed to bring my inherent Solutionist nature to a broader level of focus.
Myself and many others are suddenly hearing the word (and should be concerned about) Infrastructure. This is a good thing, because, as well as the fact that our Natural Resources and way of life are on the table, it seems that our Infrastructures are up for Leveraging too.
If we look at the energy that has mobilized around the issue of Fracking, it is clear that it took a very large effort of committed people around the world, to bring about the ban we celebrate today in New York.
When I thought about Fracking, I was focused on the environmental and health concerns, the poisoning of the water, earthquakes… and I wasn’t paying enough attention to even recognize the “Economic Development” part.
A little over one year ago at Governor Cuomo’s 2014 State Of The State address:
This year, at the State Of the State Address in Albany NY, the Concourse was a very different experience. People came to thank the Governor for Banning Fracking in NY. But, when we return home, the work continues…
Many Strong and Empowered people attended this year’s SOS, it being the second time I have ever held a sign in public.
At one point, I stood with We Are Seneca Lake, and learned more about their situation. It is NOT good! While the details are different from ours, it is the same directive, Corporate Interest, lack of regard for our Natural Resources, and unfathomable choices are being made by Lawmakers. Over 200 arrests of concerned citizens have been made so far, in the Seneca Lake effort.
We really are in The Same Boat… We are ALL Seneca Lake…
Unity, Collaboration and Connection is how we band together to hold our Government accountable. Regional Citizen efforts must come together to support eachother.
The Show Goes on. Crestwood Gas Storage Facility is moving forward… Millions of gallons of Fracked product is headed for storage, pretty much, under Seneca Lake.
Economic Development is threatening us all. The more we know, the better.
So here, in the Hudson Valley, we are under threat of a Politically Sponsored, Tax-Payer Funded Corporate Water Grab. We are in the first stages of SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) and thankfully, we received a “Positive Declaration”, which calls for a Environmental Impact Study. What those studies will find, or perhaps better said, what they will show to us, remains to be seen.
Currently, we wait. And what better time to learn more about the process?
Click below to follow along:
It is all very confusing!
The Public Scoping period is currently only 30 days once Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quiggly finally receives the SEQR Environmental Impact Scoping Documents from Chazen & Company; Niagara Bottling Company’s consultant. That is not a lot of time.
We have asked for more Public Scoping time and this is a reasonable request. Hinting to the volume of the Review, is that it has been well over 60 days since Chazen went to work preparing them. The Public deserves at least the same amount of time to evaluate the documents.
In the past months, while studying what I can, of the Niagara Bottling Company Proposal, I had heard a lot about Start-up NY; ten years of Tax abatements (for a major corporation?). I had no idea what that really meant, and I didn’t know that there was other Funding on the table.
Because I missed the importance of paying attention to economic development in general, when I began to work on the Niagara Proposal, when others on our team spoke of Regional Economic Development Priorities, it went over my head.
When I realized that there was more free money (at the cost of Tax-Payers) on the table… suddenly I was exploring the NY Works Program, and CFA Grants, Cleaner Greener NY and Start-UP NY initiatives.
There is so much to learn about these programs, and I am now only begining to graze the surface. And yes… It did take staying up for nights-on-end, drinking Ty•Phoo tea and staring at my computer with thirty tabs open in several windows, but it is worth it.
The Start-Up NY Tax Exemption request, included in The Niagara Bottling Company proposal, is one of the main priorities of focus for those of us working toward a transparent, fair and comprehensive scope on this process.
SUNY Ulster & Start-Up NY would cover (abate) 148,000 of the 400,000 square ft. build (and that is complicated within itself, how does that get abated, and are they looking to abate the other 252,000 square feet in some other way?)
As per the NY.Gov website:
Below is the Governor’s NY State Opportunity Agenda, rolled out with the State Of the State Address last month. It is long, but not boring, and it is important to see what our Law Makers are claiming, pushing and setting forth.
The link below begins at 19:20 when the Governor begins to discuss his Education Meets Economic Development Rap. This is very important to all of us, as SUNY Ulster is the Usher for Niagara into Start-Up NY Tax Grants for the Ulster Bottling Plant Site.
If you take SUNY Ulster Environmental Club President Aidan Ferris’ quote into consideration, you will look at the following with a perspective worth recognizing.
“SUNY Ulster is in the process of revamping the mission statement of our school to include Accountability and Sustainability. Being responsible to our environment, the community and to each other for the careful use of resources by making data-driven decisions that accomplish the completion of College goals that support the College mission.” Ferris says. “Clearly the Niagara Bottling proposal is in complete contradiction with all the amazing actions our school has taken to lower its impact on the environment. The administration of our school needs to see that in order to be truly sustainable, we need to not only be economically sustainable, but culturally sustainable, and environmentally sustainable too; it doesn’t appear that the partnership with Niagara would be any of the three”
As Governor Cuomo rolls out his plans for the Economic Development of Upstate NY, it is beneficial to all New Yorkers to pay attention to his motives, plans and directives, and hold him to them.
It looks like we had better step up… NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is. Read here about his feelings on the current Tax Relief Economic Development Programs:
An economic profile of the state’s job-creating entity, the Empire State Development Corp., found little available financial data for its various subsidiaries, while reports that highlight its results were similarly lacking, a report conducted by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office found.
So.. I began my exploration into Economic Development when the announcements for CFA Grant Awards came upon my radar, and I wish there was a class on this… (Mental Note, find out how many of us would take such a class?).
Here is some of what I understand about it so far…
As well as the Ten Years of Tax Abatement through Start-Up NY; last year, The Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Endorsed Niagara as a Regional Priority for CFA Grants. Even More Free Money.
Governor Cuomo and The NYREDC announced The Awards For 2014 Regional Council Initiative Grant Monies on Thursday December 11th (One day late, after postponing the Award Ceremony 26 hours––due to inclement weather).
Much To The Great Efforts Of Concerned Citizens and Elected Officials and Community Organizations, Niagara Bottling Co. Did NOT recieve their expected award of 10.8 million dollars. Included in the list of the awards that were granted, there were some encouraging choices made. (SEE: Mid Hudson Valley Awards on page 89)
Hmmmm……. Were we that inclement weather? I believe our petition made a difference. Timing and volume of signatures were key factors.
Because Niagara was not awarded, and further strengthened by the announcement of the Frack Ban in NY one week later, it is encouraging to think that there is a slim possibility that we are being heard, and could possibly make more waves as we continue to hold our elected officials accountable to their own directives and criteria.
THE NYREDC CFA (Consolidated Funding) DIRECTIVES INCLUDE WATER IN THE REQUIRED AREAS OF FOCUS.
- WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
- Fixing Ailing Infrastructures?
- Protecting Clean Water?
- Fracking With it? (Fortunately, and conicidentally(?) Fracking was banned in NY State, announced one week after the REDC CFA Awards Ceremony)
- Selling it to corporations for pennies on the dollar to big Water Business?
Please take a moment to consider how Niagara Bottling Proposal fits in to the mix.
IF YOU CAN’T….
- SEE: THE GUIDELINES FOR THE MID-HUDSON RDC’S OPPORTUNITY AGENDA HERE:
SHOULD ALL OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL’S PLANS BE MORE IN ALIGNMENT WITH AT LEAST, THE GOALS AND VISION OF THE CLEANER GREENER COMMUNITIES PROGRAM?BECAUSE FROM WHAT I CAN SEE IN THE DIFFERENT ECONOMIC DIRECTIVES, MUNICIPALITIES ARE ENCOURAGED, NOT REQUIRED TO CONSIDER THE DIRECTIVES OF CGNY, WHICH, ALREADY SEEM A LITTLE BROAD STROKED TO ME.CGNY DIRECTIVES LISTED AS FOLLOWS:
- Incentivize sustainable communities
- Economic revitalization through green jobs
- Increase energy efficiencies and renewable energy
- Strengthen environmental justice
- Support development of environmentally-friendly public and private transportation
- Protect & preserve NYS’s natural resources
AND THEN, ANOTHER IMPORTANT QUESTION….. DOES THE CLEANER GREENER COMMUNITIES PROGRAM NEED BOLSTERING?
I think it might…
WE NEED TO LOOK AT OTHER MUNICIPALITIES WHO GOVERN WITH AN EYE FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND LEARN FROM THEM!!!
YOU CAN MAKE A SUGGESTION TO THE REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL’S WEBSITE HERE: http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/mid-hudson
- (**NOTE: There is a tab on the right hand side of the home page. Click that, and a menu appears)
- Mid-Hudson Contact Info
- 33 Airport Center Drive – #201
New Windsor, NY 12553
(845) 567-6085 Fax
Press Office: (800) 260-7313
- Mid-Hudson Representives
- James Bernardo
President & CEO, Candela Systems Corporation
- John Bonacic
State Senate, 42nd District
- Vincent Cozzolino
President & CEO, The Solar Energy Consortium
- Robin L. Douglas
President & CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce Westchester & Rockland Counties
- Jonathan Drapkin
President and CEO, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress
- Tom Endres
President & COO, Continental Organics
- Carol Fitzgerald
President & CEO, Life Medical Technologies Inc.
- Aleida Frederico
Senior Vice President, TD Bank
- Marsha Gordon
President & CEO, Westchester Business Council
- Maureen Halahan
President & CEO, Orange County Partnership
- Wiley C. Harrison
Founder & President of Business of Your Business, LLC
- Ken Kleinpeter
Director of Farm and Facilities, Glynwood Farm
- Payal Malhotra
Vice President of Marketing, Café Spice GCT, Inc.
- J. Gary Pretlow
State Assembly, 87th District
- Mary Rodrigues
Owner, A.J. Rodrigues Group Inc.
- Paul Ryan
President, Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body
- Al Samuels
President & CEO, Rockland Business Association
- David Sorbaro
Co-CEO, Mavis Tire Supply
- Ned Sullivan
President, Scenic Hudson, Inc.
- James Taylor, III
CEO, Taylor BioMass, LLC
- Terri Ward
President & CEO, Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce
- Dr. Cliff L. Wood
President, SUNY Rockland Community College
- James Bernardo