Summary of COMIDA Meeting for February 28th, 2023Summary of COMIDA Meeting for February 28th, 2023
Observed by Deborah Rice Gordon
This COMIDA meeting can viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdL0ZsV1BVU
Jackie Smith, representing Clarkson, Hamlin and Sweden (2nd district) in the Monroe County Legislature, was introduced. She has been appointed by the legislature to be their member on the COMIDA Board.
A local labor monitoring report was given. In January, the residency of 776 workers was checked with 14 having a non-compliance issue. As of January 31st, all monitored sites were in compliance. The percentage of local laborers at the Amazon Manitou site was 72.9%.
Several requests for local labor waivers were discussed. They were prompted by either a lack of local labor availability, a temporary shortage of iron workers, the warranty requirements for the installation of specialized systems, or the cost differential between local and non-local workers.
Project Application Reviews:
Requests for sales tax exemptions, recording tax exemptions and/or real property tax abatements were approved for the following projects:
- Sun Density, Inc. for expansion of their manufacturing and research facility on West Main Street in Rochester.
- Andrews Terrace, Conifer Realty and Community Preservation Partners for the purchase and renovation of Andrews Terrace, a senior, income-restricted apartment complex, in Rochester.
The following modification requests were approved:
- 30 West Broad Street, LLC for extension of the sales tax exemption through December 31, 2023 for their project in Rochester.
- Bace Build, LLC for extension of the sales tax exemption through December 31, 2023 for their project on South Avenue in Rochester.
- Whitney Baird Associates, LLC for renewal and extension of the sales tax exemption as well as increases in project costs.
The Governance Committee report was given by Jay Popli. The Committee is focusing on two areas. Local labor waivers are requested when a manufacturer requires that only certified workers install systems as a warranty requirement. The Board will develop a requirement that local laborers be trained during these installations so that they can become certified for future work. A policy is being drafted for review at the March meeting. Another focus is on increasing the penalties for violation of COMIDA policies.
The Finance Committee report summary was given by Ann Burr. A decision was made to move forward with an investigation of how funds are being managed and the retaining of help to provide this monitoring on a regular basis.
Executive Director Discussion Items:
- The workforce development fund was established as part of the 2022 COMIDA modernization initiative to meet the growing needs of businesses. A development proposal was presented by Donald Fiorelli of Local 1199 United Health Care Workers East. A one-year program would train 30 adult students in Monroe County who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The program works with local hospitals and agencies to create pathways for future opportunities once students have been certified. A motion to create a contract between COMIDA and the union to support the workforce development program in an amount not to exceed $300,000 passed.
- Empire State Development is providing grants through its FAST NY Shovel-Ready Program to promote the creation of more development-ready sites, particularly for larger employers. Tim Weber from Atquest Development, LLC discussed a proposal for the development of a West Monroe Logistics Park in Ogden. COMIDA and AtQuest would submit a letter of intent for a grant with COMIDA acting as a pass-through for the grant money. The state reviews the information and determines if the project is eligible to submit an application. Water, gas, and fiber improvements had been made previously. AtQuest installed sanitary sewers. The Board discussed the use of grant money for work that was already done. However, Atquest undertook the work knowing that the funds would be available in 2023. A motion to submit a letter of intent and grant application for site improvements to the West Monroe Logistics Park in Ogden passed with two no votes.
The next meeting will be the annual meeting and will be held on March 28th.