Friday, March 15, 2013

Close But No Cigar...

From the Sentinel: Firm picks Lysander; no job harvest for county.

A site in Onondaga County has won out over Oneida County as the home for a new plant for a producer of fruit preparations for the dairy industry. Agrana Fruit U.S., Inc., is going to Lysander to build its fourth plant and not the business park that’s adjacent to the former county airport in Whitestown. It will construct a new manufacturing and distribution operation, investing more than $50 million and creating approximately 120 new jobs, according to this morning’s announcement by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
"Very disappointing," said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.. "We have not specifically heard what our (site) shortcomings were or overall issues" that affected the final decision.
I would not expect to be told what our shortcomings are.  I would be expected to know.

I've said this before but it bears repeating.  Our leaders do not benchmark ourselves against our competition, not just for specific projects, but for doing business in the county in general.  The latest increase in sewer rates is an example.  When county leaders are asked how our rates compare with others a response is received that presents figures that cannot be intelligently compared... with a snotty tone to boot!

Close but no cigar is not acceptable.

Another article from the Syracuse paper is here. 

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds similar to the an issue when asking for data from the County Executive on 911 Consolidation. Lot of hot air but no substantiation as to costs - yet they want the $.30 per month from County residents to subsidize an operation whose costs could be reduced considerably, say 28% or more?

The additional positions requested are nothing but patronage to an entity that rightfully should be transferred to the Oneida County Law Enforcement Office. These people know how to operate like a business.

Anonymous said...

It is clear that we need a new economic development team and approaches. EDGE, under the DiMeo rein, has constantly failed to land new development. It is often the singer, not the song. He and his staff are sub par while playing the tune of politcs, not professionalism.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should give DiMeo a big raise and then he might finally do some constructive work for those he represents. Sooner or later, Oneida County and Edge will not even be considered for development. We are always in the running, unfortunately we are running backwards with this crew.

Silence Dogood said...

Don't cry over spilt milk, we have the Chip Plant still on the table lol. Let the chips fall where they may. Someone needs to draw a line down a piece of paper and list all the "new companies" that Edge promised to bring in to the area
that the OD has written about Then on the other side of the line check off if they made it. You cant count the ones that moved to the Griffiss Park that were in Utica.
Time for a change in leadership. Oh you can't do that it would be just shuffling the deck chairs and they all will end up still in some goverment job or not for profit or for profit corporation owned by a non profit. A very tangled mess.

Anonymous said...

Every time I hear that "operate as a business" line in something about the differences in ways to run a government operation, I cringe. Businesses exist to make profit. I sure don't want my government taxing me for a penny more than just enough to get the job done. Knowing how to make a profit doesn't necessarily mean knowing how to run a government efficiently.

Strikeslip said...

I agree with you, Anonymous 11:54. Running a government is different from running a business and requires some different skills.

But a government that seeks to attract businesses had better know something about what it is like to run them.

It seems OC's MO is to throw money around with grants, tax abatements, and in-kind taxpayer financed services and infrastructure. But once the incentives run out, the companies look for a new place. How many times have we seen a company move from one part of the region to another just as its last PILOT agreement is about to expire. That is taxpayer-financed inefficiency.

If I were a site selector, I would disregard a location that nickles and dimes its citizens to death and treats them disrespectfully.

Anonymous said...

EDGE is quasi government, not government. Since it does get taxpayer money and wrong headedly designated by the county as the area development agency, it must be held accountable for its failures. The OCIDA which grants tax relief is controlled by the county executive since he makes the appointments. Of course it is headed by his close friend and confidant.

Strikeslip said...

To Anonymous 733, I agree, we need a new economic development team. But our problem is more then just them. EDGE, bad as it is, has had to work with defective policy emanating from a rubber-stamp county legislature, a whole string of county executives, and a wired-in elite of self-interested and conflicted individuals, engineering firms and other contractors affiliated with both parties. Unfortunately, SO many people owe their jobs to the "establishment" that meaningful change from the voting booth is probably beyond reach.

This toxic environment itself is enough to scare businesses away.

Anonymous said...

Simply pathetic when businesses cannot even be bribed to come to Oneida County.

Anonymous said...

EDGE is not a county agency and does not even get most of its funding from the county. As such it does not have to follow poor or worse county policies. The EDGE board of directors which is primarily private sector hires, judges and controls the staff. Bad, maybe even corrupt ties, run through the county and the EDGE but it does not have to be that way.

Anonymous said...

One of the most cutious features of this story is that of the Observer Dispatch. First, the OD published a huge article concerning the possiblity that the company "could" locate here and add 120 local jobs. When the company chose to go elswhere, the OD did not even report the story until after it appeared both in the Syracuse paper and here on this blog. Why? Did the paper not follow up on its own story? Did it not want to publish yety another EDGE failure? When it finally does so, it is a small story given short shriff. In either event, this is another example of why groups like the EDGE and our political leaders have no accountability. With no accountability there is no pressure to perform.

Strikeslip said...

Yes, anonymous 4:25, the contrast in treatment of this story by the OD before and after is curious ... unless you have concluded - as I suspect you have - that the decision makers at the OD are part and parcel of our inept and incompetent local political establishment and are a propaganda organ more than a news organization. If you want in-depth coverage of Oneida County shenanigans, the Sentinel is your first choice.

The one interesting bit of info in the OD is that a 20 year tax abatement was offered. 20 years!!! Yikes! That's practically a lifetime for the companies that come and go around here ... clear proof that TAXES are prohibitive for businesses here.

Anonymous said...

It could be that the OD is simply inept. Much like the EDGE it has no axccountability since there is no competition to it. And, Strikeship is correct, the tax relief formulas, grants and other so called concessions to companies have gone beyond the pale. The dirty little secret is that they are not all that necessary to attracting jobs. A great site, available and low cost labor and a business friendly community are what makes for business attraction. and, yes, lower taxes for all figure into the formula since low taxes contribute to a stable population and work place. The big question is whether the EDGE does in fact give priority to attracting new jobs or is the business/political hierarchy here very happy with the status quo? How else does one explain no standard of job perfromance at the EDGE? In most areas, the staff would have been replaced a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

If you owned a business looking to relocate, would you want to move here & deal with the nitwits that run this county? Not to mention the exhorbitant water & sewer rates, high taxes, crime, crumbling infrastructure & all the rest. The politicians who run the show around here are reaping what they have sown. Too bad the voter's haven't wised up yet. Yet.

Anonymous said...

If it is true that 20 years of no taxes couldn't bring them in then for all the fancy promises nothing is coming. There is no doubt that we need to make drastic changes each November at every level of government.

Anonymous said...

The real question is whether or not we have the labor force to attract sizeable new business? If the answer is no, why do we even have an EDGE? One would think that the county legislators and the OD would be asking DiMeo to answer this basic question in detail.

Silence Dogood said...

The excuse of NO labor force? Why didnt the OD ask. If we don't have a labor pool for 120 people how are you going to support the needs of a "chip plant"? I know they ar going to be highly educated people who come to her for the quality of life our small community represents. Can someone put on the ballot a question? It would be something as simple How many people believe a chip plant is on the way here? If the majority of people say know its time to develop the site back into farm land or some other useful activity.

Anonymous said...

A labor pool anaysis includes many factors including number,type,projected pay scale and availability. Although this factor is most likely not one that impacted this project, it would be helpful for the EDGE to explain why we did not attract it? The fact that the OD or our politicians do not seek public answers tells a lot about why we keep failing. Labor is a critical component to the chip plant saga. That too should be examained and explained publicly. The fact, that these issues never are results in the kind of public policy decisions that become folly. Therein lies a huge failure of our local media and our politics. That our public does not demand answers speaks volumes of our capabilities.

Anonymous said...

WHAT NOW HAPPENS TO THE LAND WHICH WAS TURNED OVER TO THE MV EDGE?

Anonymous said...

What about the companies that are here, will they get tax breaks, incentives, and special treatment?

ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING.

IF THERE IS NO EMPLOYEMENT BASE TO DRAW FROM, WHY THE HELL ARE WE DUMPING $30 MILLION INTO NANOTECH!!!??

Silence Dogood said...

I think the land could have inviromental problems from deicing of airplanes from when the airport was in operation Somebody should ask that that question too. Nothing like another study to get that answer

Anonymous said...

The employment base question is a good one both from a quatity and quality point of view. The nanotech industry is a lion of a different stripe. First, salaries and research opportunities may attract people to immigrate in what is exactly what we need. Second, I think part of the rational is to keep college graduates here. Those with appropriate backgrounds and degrees form a labor pool that is used to satisfy that component. In the nanotech instance the problems may be site and EDGE related. But, it would be nice if we, the taxpayers, were provided with much more detail as to the entire feasibilty of the effort, from the outset. But, we never are. Therein lies the real problem. Other areas demand and expect anwers from those serving them, we do not.

Anonymous said...

We have many contributors here, however, where is there a leader to expose the folly that exists within Oneida County and elsewhere.

We see when someone questions governmental actions, they are quashed without help from the very people who are stronger than those whose attempts to control us should be futile...

Anonymous said...

The stanglehold the political establishmnet has on control is almost impossible to beat for some very basic reasons including patronage, contracts and campaign donations. The refusal of the majority of the electorate to vote, let alone vote for change is another crucial factor.