City of Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was in attendance Wednesday as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his take on the state of the state in the annual address which opens the state legislature's session.
Dolce was asked his impressions of the speech, the first he has been present for in Albany.
"I thought it was a positive message," he replied. "There was a few things I was able to take away from it that gives me hope for the near- and long-term future of the state."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his third State of the State address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Wednesday in Albany.
Asked to elaborate, Dolce said Cuomo's mention of high-tech incubators stood out the most.
"I'm thinking specifically of our own incubator in the city of Dunkirk," he explained. "Talking about the need for the venture capitalists to invest in these business startups to help commercialize them, because as we know when those products are able to be commercialized, that's when they start to turn profits and are able to employ people. That's something we desperately need in the city and Chautauqua County."
The mayor was asked if he heard anything that would help city government.
"There was a mention of no new taxes, which is always a positive. Worker's comp relief - our workers comp bill goes up slightly every year so there will be some relief, hopefully, coming there," he replied. "I also believe there's a mention of unemployment insurance, so we could see some relief there as well, which would be a positive for the city.
"He did point out in his upstate section that one of the ways they will look to assist upstate is in the marketing of the area. How exactly that will be done remains to be seen, but we often hear that Dunkirk has great potential. Well, maybe some assistance from the state in marketing that potential could have some short and long-term benefit."
With the loss of area jobs in the forefront, Dolce was asked if he found out anything about NRG's proposal to invest some $700 million in converting its coal-fired Dunkirk plant to a gas-fired operation.
"Unfortunately, we did not get anything concrete on the NRG situation, but there were some small hints that a natural gas pipeline is on the governor's radar," he replied.
As for Carriage House, Dolce said the only talk was among area officials.
"That's such a tough situation because it's bought out by a multi-national corporation, then I read in the paper what many of us suspected, the reason for the closing was they were sold again to ConAgra," he added. "We're out there trying to have those discussions but my optimistic nature isn't shining through in that case."
Dolce said he was impressed with the professional setting of the event.
"I'm sure there's people wondering why I went, but I really think what we have gained with technology we have lost in that face-to-face contact," he said. "I had the opportunity to come up and talk to some people face-to-face and hopefully it pays off in some small way down the road. The trip was productive but we'll be getting back to more city-related business."
Dolce said he will be back in City Hall today.
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