CCIDA-Related Resolutions Voted Down By Committee

MAYVILLE – After months of being tabled, three resolutions brought forward to the Planning and Economic Development Committee by Legislator Bob Whitney have been voted down.

The Democrat from Jamestown attended the committee meeting Wednesday night to speak about the resolutions he said were originally brought forward in July. Whitney said after the July meeting was canceled, the Planning and Economic Development Committee discussed the resolution at the August meeting, which Whitney was not able to attend. He said he then introduced two more resolutions in September, but they were not brought off the table by committee members.

The resolutions request the New York state Legislature to modify the membership of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency; request the CCIDA adopt a local labor policy for projects receiving CCIDA financial assistance; and request the CCIDA adopt a local supplier policy for projects receiving CCIDA financial assistance.

The first resolution requests a letter be sent to Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Chautauqua County, and Sen. Catharine Young, R-C-I-Olean, requesting the ranking minority member of the legislature’s Planning and Economic Development Committee serve on an ex-officio basis with full voting powers, as the chairman of the committee already serves on the CCIDA board.

The second resolution calls for the CCIDA to adopt a local labor policy stating at least 90 percent of all employees of the general contractor, subcontractor or subcontractor working on the project receiving financial assistance must reside within the “local labor area.” The local labor area is to include Chautauqua County, Cattaraugus and Erie counties in New York and Erie and Warren counties in Pennsylvania.

Additionally, the second resolution says project developers would be required to file reports with the CCIDA, demonstrating compliance with the local labor policy. Waivers of the policy would be granted by the CCIDA when workers residing within the local labor area are not available for a particular task with respect to the assisted project.

Similarly, the third resolution calls for the CCIDA to adopt a policy stating at least 90 percent of all materials and supplies utilized on the project receiving financial assistance must be procured within the local labor area, which is described as the same area as in the second resolution. The resolution also requires a report be filed with the CCIDA demonstrating compliance, and allows waivers to be granted by the CCIDA when workers residing within the local labor area are not available for a particular task with respect to the assisted project.

“In my opinion, if the taxpayers of Chautauqua County are paying the bill, whether it’s providing tax incentives to businesses, or paving our roads, we owe it to them to keep our money in the area,” Whitney wrote to The Post-Journal. “When we hire people from outside the area, we are shipping our hard earned tax dollars to another region. They get the benefit of our tax dollars, we don’t.”

The committee had little discussion on the resolutions. Legislator Keith Ahlstrom, D-Dunkirk, expressed his feelings that if the resolutions were passed, it would be essentially creating an unfunded mandate.

Also during the meeting, the committee approved amending several resolutions regarding original 3 percent occupancy tax and authorizing a grant application to the New York State Office of Community Renewal for Community Development Block Grant funding.

For the CDBG funding, the committee discussed that Empire Specialty Cheese Co., LLC plans to establish a cheese production operation in the town of Harmony at the former AFA Foods facility. Without the funding, the project will not go through.