Summary of COMIDA Meeting for March 28th, 2023Summary of COMIDA Meeting for March 28th, 2023
Observed by Deborah Rice Gordon
This COMIDA meeting can viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_RQsphW2g4
A local labor monitoring report was given by Kevin Loweke. In February, the residency of 566 workers was checked with one having a non-compliance issue. The percentage of local laborers at the Amazon Manitou site was 72.9%.
A financial report for February was discussed. Funds from project fees totaling $5.1 million have been allocated to the Workforce Modernization Plan. The amount committed to date is $2.7 million.
Project Application Review:
Requests for sales tax exemptions, recording tax exemptions and/or real property tax abatements were approved for the following projects:
- University Avenue LLC for renovation of a building at 1344 University Avenue in Rochester for the relocation and expansion of Black Button Distilling.
- Lofts at Gold Street LLC for the assumption of a property tax abatement for a student housing project at 1176-1188 Mt. Hope Avenue in Rochester.
- Apple Latta LLC for an extension of the sales tax exemption through December 31, 2024 for the construction of a senior housing project in Greece.
- A50EB LLC for extension of the sales tax exemption through December 31, 2023 for redevelopment of the Aqueduct Building in Rochester.
- COMIDA’s employment policies mirror those of the county. In February, a bi-partisan agreement to increase employee retention was announced involving quarterly bonuses and payments and a one-week vacation time bank for new employees. A motion to adopt these new policies was approved.
- The dashboard was reviewed. Project applications and closings are typically slower at this time of year. However, more activity is expected going forward. The last two years were historic for project activity.
- Workforce development projects are progressing well. Solar workforce development may be transitioned to COMIDA, pending discussions with the County.
- The report was reviewed by the Executive Director. Twenty-six new projects resulted in $734 million in new company investments in Monroe County, resulting in the direct creation of 737 new jobs over a 3-year period and retention of 1,948 jobs and 1,091 construction jobs. Projects were located in 12 municipalities across the county.
- The Li Cycle North American hub project started in 2022 is investing $182 million tied to 130 new jobs. When combined with their warehouse project, their investment totals greater than $500 million and 270 jobs. This is the largest project to have been approved by the Board.
- Cooper Vision Inc. is proposing a $23.5 million renovation and expansion of its facility in Henrietta, expected to add an additional 100 jobs to their total area workforce of over 1,000.
- Micropen Technologies Corporation (now known as Exxeelia Micropen) is expanding its facility in Honeyoe Falls with a $3.8 million project which is expected to create 10 jobs.
- Toptica Photonics Inc. has a $2.1 million project to relocate to Pittsford, which is expected to create 18 jobs. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for May 31st.
- O’Connell Electric has a $6.5 million project to expand their business and training facility, which is expected to create 5 jobs.
- Howitt Bayview LLC is building a $13 million apartment project in Penfield, that is expected to create 4 jobs.
- The Workforce Development Fund was reviewed. Four local organizations were given funds to continue their recruitment and training. The Rochester Building and Construction Training Council has received 673 new apprenticeship applications or inquiries. There are many construction-related job opportunities in Monroe County that have not been filled for lack of qualified applicants.
- A COMIDA modernization initiative was approved by the Board in 2022. The main objective was to allocate funds to workforce development programs. This required the creation of supporting processes and policies as well as stakeholder outreach, which were discussed. In addition, project evaluation policies, job creation requirements to ensure equity and community benefits, small business expansion, as well as other elements will be created or revised.
- The findings of a financial audit were reviewed by a representative from Mengel Metzger and Barr CPA firm. No material weaknesses or deficiencies were found. COMIDA is in a good financial position.
- A recommendation was made to the Board to re-adopt the Charter and whistle-blower policies. The motion was passed.
- The Committee recommended re-adoption of the fee schedule, charter and investment and deposit policy with no changes. A motion to adopt the recommendations passed.
- The Committee re-adopted their position statement and performance metrics without changes. Slight changes were suggested to the by-laws. Also, several policies were reviewed and some were revised. Local labor policy is still under review. Therefore, the recommendation is to approve the existing policy for the time being. Motions to adopt all recommendations were approved.
Election of Officers
- A motion to appoint the following officers passed: Ann Burr as Chair and Ethics Officer, Jay Popli as Vice Chair, Troy Milne as Secretary, Lisa Bolzner as Treasurer and Ana Liss as Contracting Officer.
- Creation of the Public Authorities Reporting Information System (PARIS) Report is underway. The report involves collecting and compiling survey data supplied by 2022 project leaders as required under COMIDA policy.
- The next Board meeting will be on April 18th.