Economic council touts business growth
PENN YAN—The Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC) had its second-best year on record with the number of projects in 2013. The FLEDC held their annual meeting at Abandon Brewing Company Friday, March 21, where Chief Executive Officer Steve Griffin said the group was part of 34 total projects last year, while also granting 14 loan approvals. He said while the projects have been smaller in scale, they have also been “larger in achievements.”
“Quantity equals quality,” Griffin said. “We want both, but the more we have, the more we will have in the future.”
Griffin said the projects they were involved in last year included projects like a $490,000 grant for the Penn Yan Marine infrastructure, a $40,000 grant for a Penn Yan comprehensive plan and a $2,407,049 grant for an open access fiber network in Yates County. He said they were also involved in a $600,000 grant for Dundee’s new water tank and a $24,000 grant for a Rushville wastewater engineering study. Griffin said the FLEDC’s combined net assets rose $303,218 last year, for a total of $5,885,402.
Griffin said these projects will help to create 132 jobs during the next three years. He said in 2013 they had a couple of businesses create more than 20 jobs each. Griffin said the FLEDC has a goal to get at least one larger project a year that creates more than 20 new jobs.
Community Development Director Alex Taylor said the FLEDC has been doing around the same amount of projects, but this year the loans were a little bit bigger. He said the center currently has 57 loans out, adding most have been since 2010. Taylor said they have helped start 32 new businesses since 2010, with more than $25 million of capital investments in Yates County in the same period of time.
“Less than 1 percent of our loans are considered at risk,” Taylor said. “That is a big testament to these businesses.”
Taylor said the FLEDC has helped create 17 new attractions in the last 24 months. He said in 2011, they had 12 new projects they assumed would lead to expansion down the line. Taylor said since that time, they have dealt with 50 expansion projects, which shows the FLEDC is not only helping establish new businesses, but also helping current ones grow.
Giffin said the FLEDC also had $22 million in increased values through use of PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes). He said the PILOTs are a tax saving program they use as incentive for businesses to expand their business. Griffin said before, their projects had only $3.3 million in assessed value, but because of their use of PILOTs, they were able to expand to $25 million.
During the meeting, former Yates County Chairman Taylor Fitch was granted the first-ever William J. Taaffe Award. Griffin said they had combined all of their previous awards into the new award to honor Taaffe’s memory, as he was involved in several community endeavors throughout his life. Fitch was selected for his more than 25 years in the private sector along with the numerous boards and organizations he has served with. Former FLEDC board members Mike Briggs, Tim Dennis and Kevin Bailey also received awards recognizing them for their service during the event.