Orleans opposes creating regional IDAs for economic development

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 April 2024 at 5:45 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has gone on the record in opposition to a state legislative proposal that would create 10 regional industrial development agencies, a proposal that would lump Orleans into part of a nine-county “Finger Lakes Region.”

The bill (click here) is sponsored in the State Senate by James Skoufis, a Democrat from Cornwall, Orange County. Assemblywomen Monica Wallace, D-Lancaster, introduced the bill in the Assembly.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency is one of 109 IDAs in the state. The state legislation would group Orleans with the following other counties in the Finger lakes Region: Monroe, Wayne, Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca and Yates.

Skoufis and Wallace say the regional IDAs would result is less “shopping around” from companies seeking the best tax incentive deal and other benefits.

The regional IDA would have a 15-person board with representatives from the counties.

“Many of these 15 appointed members of the regional agency could not be expected to be familiar with Orleans County and the communities served by our local IDA,” Orleans County legislators stated in resolution opposing the regional IDA.

County legislators said the local Orleans EDA already has a longstanding policy that it won’t accept an application for financial assistance from a company in a community served by another IDA “unless that IDA makes a written request that Orleans County IDA undertakes that project, thereby eliminating the concept of applicants ‘shopping around’ for a better deal,” Orleans legislators said.

The County legislature said it prefers to keep the economic development agency locally run, with members who have a deep understanding of Orleans County and who are accountable to local residents.

The County legislature forwarded its resolution of opposition to Gov. Kathy Hochul, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, State Senate Majority Leader Rob Ortt, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, Congressman Joseph Morelle and New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).