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More transparency in local development

More transparency in local development

What's the full story with Metroplex?

 

The Feb. 2 editorial, “Need more transparency in economic development”  speaks to this need at the state level, with no mention of the need for transparency by the four economic development agencies operating in Schenectady

For example, the Metroplex Law requirement that by March of each year, Metroplex must conduct a public hearing spelling out the goals and costs of each ongoing project and each project planned in the upcoming year is simply ignored by the Metroplex board and not enforced by the county Legislature.

Unfortunately, Gazette reporting on economic development in Schenectady falls short by too often relying on the press releases by the economic development agency itself as the sole source of news. For example, a Jan. 15 report noted, “Metroplex: Payment in lieu of taxes hit $15.7M in 2017. Annual report on incentivized projects released.”

In asking Metroplex for a copy of the report (available under the Freedom of Information Law), I was told there is no report yet, but simply a press release citing the anticipated report. I also learned the PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes) cited in the press release were not all awarded by Metroplex alone, but included PILOTs given by the two Schenectady industrial development agencies (IDAs). 

Yes, there’s a need for more transparency in economic development activities at the home town level, too. 

Elmer Bertsch

Niskayuna

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