BATAVIA – A controversial contract renewal with the Genesee County Economic Development Center has been approved by the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee.
The $215,000 in funding for 2013 included in the county’s $145 million budget for the new year triggered three no votes when the budget, usually backed unanimously, came up for approval last month. Even though the money is contained in the budget, it still had to be approved by the committee.
Oakfield Legislator Raymond F. Cianfrini, one of four on the committee, and Batavians Marianne Clattenburg and Frank C. Ferrando were opposed to giving money to a profitable agency that pays large bonuses. The committee vote was not disclosed.
However, the GCEDC board says this year will be the last for bonuses that were in the five-figure range. EDC’s profits come from land sales and grants. The county appropriation has been cut in recent years from $280,000.
The agency in 2012 was responsible for two yogurt makers building facilities in its Genesee Valley Agri-business Park, a $220,000 investment that will employ more than 200 workers.
Supporters feared that omitting county funds would send the wrong message to potential developers who are being asked to invest locally.