Center reports banner year, gives awards
KINNEYS CORNERS—Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC) reports a banner year.
The largest number of economic development projects were sponsored as well as near-record planned job creation and capital investment. Seventeen new businesses were attracted or started here.
Executive director of FLEDC outlined the year during the annual meeting of the organization Friday, March 25, at The Antique Inn. Griffin said there is momentum going on.
Griffin spoke about the challenges that have come along, including the temporary closing of the call center, AES being put in cold storage and the New York State government. One challenge related to New York State is a new tax on industrial development agencies. A $10,000 tax in 2010 was repealed; however, FLEDC board chairman Kevin Bailey said the state has imposed a $30,000 tax this year. Bailey said, “We are a non profit. We need the money to remain in Yates County.”
Griffin and Hallings attended a total of 469 local business and community meetings. Griffin said, “I feel there is a direct correlation with why we are successful. We, as a community, are doing a good job of getting businesses to Yates County.” Griffin outlined statistics connected to job creation, noting, “This is the direct opposite of the economy at this time. No other county is coming close.”
Awards were the highlight of the meeting. The Community Award recognizes a business that provides a major stimulus in Yates County. Remee Casting is a company that tends to be overlooked. People know the name because the products are in major stores. The company has been in Penn Yan for more than 40 years. Remee Casting and Roto Salt are stable companies with good paying manufacturing jobs. Lou Tyrell, who retired from the company after decades of service, received the award. Company President Brett Oaks said he did not know where the company would be without Tyrell.
Magnus Ridge Winery owners Matt and Sandy Downey received the Welcome Award. Griffin said, “There is no better way to prove your confidence in an area than to spend your own money.” Griffin said the owners have invested $3 million in the Route 14 project.
The Yates Award went to a Yates County Department. Griffin spoke about the parking problem that surfaced when The Connection call center opened in Penn Yan, Griffin said he called Yates County Administrator Sarah Purdy and asked if the county would build a parking lot if FLEDC paid for the materials. The project was approved. Griffin said Highway Superintendent Dave Hartman, Assistant Superintendent Craig Prior and Highway Maintenance Supervisor Lance Yonge tackled the project. Griffin said, “It was absolutely unbelievable the help we got from the highway department.”
The final award was presented to FLEDC Chief Financial Officer Doreen Jensen. Griffin said, “Doreen has been with us since the beginning. She’s our rock.” Jensen has been with the organization for 20 years.
One of Griffin’s final comments was, “We are starting to win out over the pessimists.”