CCIDA announces new initiatives

JAMESTOWN — Mark Geise, the deputy county executive for Economic Development, who also serves as the chief executive officer for the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA), has announced several new initiatives aimed at improving transparency and increasing community engagement. Initially, these efforts will include taking the CCIDA on the road, offering community informational sessions, publishing agendas sooner and undertaking an economic development strategy. Geise stated that these efforts were in response to Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello’s pledge to make substantive changes to the CCIDA that would result in it being more proactive and transparent, while seeking to better integrate with its community and service providing partners.

“The first initiative involves taking the CCIDA on the road,” said Geise. “As opposed to holding all of our meetings almost exclusively at the BWB Center in Jamestown and the Technology Incubator in Dunkirk, we will be holding a majority of our meetings at business locations and at municipal locations throughout the county. This will afford municipal, community, and business leaders the opportunity to attend and participate in the meetings and for the CCIDA to ingratiate itself with the community.”

While the final version of the schedule has not yet been released, a draft schedule was shared with the CCIDA Board members at their April 24 Board Meeting, and the response was very positive. Geise communicated that the locations will be advertised using several media outlets so that the community leaders and the public are aware of the meetings.

“The second initiative involves information sessions that will be held in several locations throughout the county,” said Geise. “We think it is essential that we sit down and have a frank discussion with community stakeholders about what the IDA is, what it has to offer, and how it works. I think this will go a long way in clearing up some of the common misconceptions that exist regarding the IDA, and will provide a forum for having a frank and honest discussion.”

The CCIDA, which is a public authority enabled by the state of New York, provides not only tax incentives and abatements, but administers a revolving loan fund and provides technical assistance for accessing grant funding and other sources of financing.

“While PILOTs and other tax incentives aren’t appropriate for every project, they are one of the economic development tools we have in our toolbox,” said Geise. “This is the kind of thing we expect to discuss with community leaders, and we hope that this forum can help to clear up any confusion there may be about what they are and how they work. It would be our hope that this dialogue results in better lines of communication between the IDA and communities, which is essential to successfully carrying out economic development initiatives.”

Geise also stated that the CCIDA will be releasing its agendas a week prior to the meeting, which will provide an opportunity for community leaders and the public to view the agenda and decide whether they would like to attend or not.

“I don’t think anyone is going to attend a CCIDA meeting for the fun of it; however, if there is a project or issue that is being considered by the board that is of interest to someone, they may wish to attend the meeting to learn more about it,” said Geise.

Lastly, the CCIDA and the county are teaming up to develop an Economic Development Strategy, as promised by Borrello during his campaign and following his election.

“In a nutshell, this project will inventory economic development-related service providers to assess who is doing what, determine where redundancies and gaps exist, ascertain what new programs may need to be developed, and will ultimately lead to the creation of a new management structure that more efficiently and effectively delivers these services,” said Geise. “Of course, we still have more to do, but this is a good start!”

Any comments or questions regarding this announcement should be addressed to Deputy County Executive for Economic Development/CCIDA Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise, at geisem@co.chautauqua.ny.us.


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