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The Telegram
  • Regional economic council announces $8 million in funding

  • Two months after the state announced a $59.7 million award to the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, the first chunk of funding is available.

    The council conducted its first meeting of 2013 Tuesday at Herkimer County Community College and discussed new funding opportunities, plans for the rest of the year and a new method of tracking projects.

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  • Two months after the state announced a $59.7 million award to the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, the first chunk of funding is available.
    The council conducted its first meeting of 2013 Tuesday at Herkimer County Community College and discussed new funding opportunities, plans for the rest of the year and a new method of tracking projects.
    Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who oversees all 10 of the state councils, praised the local council — which represents Schoharie, Fulton, Montgomery, Otsego, Oneida and Herkimer counties — for its work even though it has not been awarded one of the top plans for two years in a row.
    “It’s always disappointing to not be one of the top plans, but hang in there,” he told the council.
    The council should learn what it did right, or wrong, during its last presentation to the state by the end of the month.
    That feedback will help the council continue to improve its approach to economic development, said council co-chairman Bjong Wolf Yeigh, who is president at SUNYIT in Marcy.
    “We’re going to continue to do the things that are working and eliminate those that aren’t,” he said. “Some of our projects have come from small businesses and others have been top-down initiatives.”
    The first section of money from the second round is $8 million through the state office of Housing and Community Renewal. The money can be used for economic development grants, assisting small business expansions or public works projects.
    Most of the jobs created through the grants are supposed to benefit low-to-moderate income workers.
    The applications for the money are available online at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/mohawk-valley. The deadline is Friday, March 8, and the money will be awarded by the end of May.
    There also will be a new way for the council to track projects through online surveys.
    The surveys will track projects through the planning and implementation stages and should head off any potential problems, said Ken Tompkins of Empire State Development Corp.
    “We’ll be able to tell if projects start to get off-track,” he said.
    The state also tracks the projects online, but its monitoring system is not 100 percent accurate as some incomplete projects are marked as completed.
    The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2.
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