MAYVILLE – The two colleges in Chautauqua County presented their plans for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Start-Up N.Y. incentive to members of the County Legislature’s Planning and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday.
Kevin Kerns, vice president for engagement and economic development at Fredonia State College, and Cory Duckworth, president of Jamestown Community College, said their institutions are reviewing proposals. After the drafts are submitted to the state, they will be sent to the governor’s office.
Duckworth said businesses interested in moving to the area are encouraged to contact the colleges now to be prepared for the formal application process. Businesses may be able to apply as soon as the end of April
JCC will focus on manufacturing and health care businesses. It also will look at service businesses and technology-related businesses.
Duckworth said JCC will cooperate with Fredonia on technology start-ups.
Kerns said the committee at Fredonia will focus on businesses that can complement programs already on the campus. He said they will look toward development of lakefront property near the SUNY technology incubator in Dunkirk. Fredonia is seeking grant money to start a marine research facility and vessel at the harbor.
Kerns said Fredonia will offer some space on the campus and will consider other areas within one mile of the campus or its Dunkirk incubator site.
Bill Daly, president of the county’s Industrial Development Association, said the county has received several inquiries from people interested in the program. The businesses would be exempt from property, sales and income taxes for 10 years if they offer net job growth and meet the criteria of the local colleges.
Kerns said the process probably will take several interviews and an application. He said the college will offer assistance with the forms.
Legislator Fred Larson, D-Jamestown, who teaches a business class at Fredonia State, asked about competition.
Kerns said new businesses will not compete with existing companies but that complementary companies will be encouraged. He said that suppliers to agri-businesses or food service companies would be among those considered because of the strong presence of food service companies in the Fredonia area.
Legislator George Borrello, R-Silver Creek, suggested that the noncompete issue be publicized. He said area companies have expressed concern that an unfair advantage could be given to competitors and damage the economic stability of existing companies.
Larson asked whether sites that are not owned by the college could be used for new businesses.
Larson said he believes the development could be a cooperative public and private program. Kerns said that a company applying to be part of the Start-Up N.Y. program would be required to show a benefit to Fredonia State in the areas of internships or other services to students or to benefit the community by promoting diversity or international trade.
The Start-Up N.Y. program will allow local officials, including the mayors of Dunkirk and Fredonia, as well as community members to review the business applications.