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Allegany County Committee Of The Whole Minutes From March Meeting

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“This is where the sausage really gets made” – unnamed County Legislator

Morning Session

CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Curtis W. Crandall called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG: Chairman Crandall led the Pledge of Allegiance.
LEGISLATORS PRESENT: C. Crandall, G. Barnes, J. Burdick, P. Curran, D. Decker, W. Dibble, K.
Graves, S. Havey, B. Harris, D. Healy, J. Hopkins, J. Ricci, D. Root, P. Stockin (Absent: D. Fanton)
OTHERS PRESENT: H. Budinger, C. Clark, K. Hooker, C. Knapp, B. Riehle, T. Ross

New Audio/Visual Equipment in Board Room
IT Director Keith Hooker demonstrated the new audio/visual equipment and Board members took a few minutes to familiarize themselves with the new equipment.

Executive Session
A motion was made by Legislator Dibble, seconded by Legislator Harris, and carried to enter into executive session at 10:43 a.m. to discuss the medical, financial, credit, or employment history of a particular corporation. Immediately following discussion at 12:02 p.m., a motion was made by Legislator Dibble, seconded by Legislator Harris, and carried to end the executive session and return to the regular meeting.
A brief recess was taken at 12:02 p.m.

A motion was made by Legislator Dibble, seconded by Legislator Decker, and carried to enter
into executive session at 12:18 p.m. to discuss the medical, financial, credit, or employment history of a particular person as well as matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal, or removal of a particular person. Immediately following discussion at 1:03 p.m., a motion was made by Legislator Dibble, seconded by Legislator Root, and carried to end the executive session and return to the regular meeting.

Adjournment
There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was adjourned at
1:03 p.m. following a motion by Legislator Stockin, seconded by Legislator Harris, and carried.

Afternoon Session

CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 2:49 p.m. by Chairman Curtis W. Crandall
LEGISLATORS PRESENT: C. Crandall, G. Barnes, J. Burdick, P. Curran, D. Decker, W. Dibble, K.
Graves, B. Harris, S. Havey, D.M. Healy, J. Hopkins, J. Ricci, D. Root, P. Stockin (Absent: D.
Fanton)

OTHERS PRESENT: B. Budinger, C. Clark, S. Decker, K. Geffers, K. Hooker, C. Knapp, B. Reynolds, B. Riehle, T. Ross, T. Shaw, M. Washer

Great Lakes Cheese Company, Inc. Project

Chairman Crandall stated that a draft resolution supporting the Great Lakes Cheese Co., Inc. proposed manufacturing facility project in the Towns of Amity and Angelica had been distributed to Board members for review. He said that although there had been quite a bit of information circulated about this project from news sources and through information from public hearings that had been held by the Industrial Development Agency, this is now official business that has come before this Board for support of the project. Chairman Crandall remarked that it’s been many decades since a project of this size has come to this area. Great Lakes Cheese is looking to invest $500 million into construction of a manufacturing facility here in Allegany County. This expansion will add 200 jobs to the existing 229 jobs currently held at the Cuba facility. We don’t often get much notice when businesses decide to pull out and leave New York State. Chairman Crandall asked Allegany County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Dr. Craig Clark to give an overview of the project.

Dr. Clark stated that Great Lakes Cheese had been looking for quite some time to find a way to expand their footprint. They have been clear that their manufacturing facility in Cuba is at the end of its useful life. Great Lakes Cheese is now building “super plants” which are manufacturing facilities that are 400,000 – 500,000 square feet in size and are used for both cheese production and processing, as well as packaging. The IDA didn’t know that Great Lakes Cheese was looking to expand, but in June 2019, the IDA did start receiving notices from Invest Buffalo Niagara that a company was looking for a large site in Allegany County. It wasn’t until November 2019 that we were able to meet with Great Lakes Cheese, and at that time they were very clear that they wanted to retain their current employees and keep a manufacturing facility within a 30-mile radius of Cuba. They looked at 77 sites and many times weren’t sure they would be able to stay because we were having trouble finding a site that met their requirements for inter-state access, water, power, sewer and natural gas. Eventually we identified two sites in Cuba, but for technical and economic viability reasons neither of those worked. They eventually decided the Crossroads area would work for their development plans. They were looking for 120-140 acres to allow them to continue to expand and stay in the area long-term. The initial project requires 90 acres for development. Not only will this project add 200 new jobs, they will be able to retain their 229 employees which was very important to them. Demand for milk will increase from 2 million to 4 million pounds per day once the project is complete. The Department of Agriculture estimates the increase demand for milk equates to an additional 600 farm jobs. Dr. Clark noted that this is a great regional project and remarked on the commitment of the family that owns Great Lakes Cheese saying that most companies wouldn’t have gone through such a lengthy process to stay here.

A motion was made by Legislator Root, seconded by Legislator Graves to prepare a resolution for consideration by the Board. Chairman Crandall stated that there was a question about whether the 600 agricultural jobs is a correct estimate which he said had been confirmed already by Dr. Clark. Dr. Clark made a suggestion to add the word “agriculture” before the word “community” on the tenth line of the first resolved in the resolution. Legislator Barnes stated that something that hasn’t been discussed is the impact of this project on Saputo Dairy Foods in Friendship. Is there going to be a problem with getting enough milk to supply both facilities? Dr. Clark stated that this is a five-year project which gives farms in the region opportunities for expansion. He stated there may be some competition between the facilities for workers. Dr. Clark stated there have already been conversations about working to make sure we have enough people who are trained and ready to go. Chairman Crandall added that the need for additional milk will reach farther than our local farms. Dr. Clark agreed and said that most large farms are already expanding. Legislator Healy asked for confirmation that in addition to the 600 agricultural jobs, and 200 new manufacturing jobs, this project when complete will account for over 1,000 jobs. Dr. Clark stated that is correct. Legislator Harris congratulated Dr. Clark and the Allegany County IDA for their efforts in bringing this project together. He’s in support of the project but has some hesitation over the use of eminent domain. He would like language added that includes something such as “to avoid eminent domain if possible.” Legislator Harris hopes that everything possible will be done to avoid using eminent domain. Dr. Clark stated they hope to avoid that but if it reaches that point, the property owner will get the full appraised value. Legislator Barnes asked if that’s less than what’s currently being offered. Dr. Clark indicated that the appraised value is less than what is currently being offered. Legislator Ricci stated that as much as he’d like to see it stay in Cuba he knows that’s not going to happen. Legislator Ricci read a portion of the draft resolution that states, “The Legislature recognizes that this project is before the IDA as a result of the current facilities reaching the end of their useful life in the Town of Cuba, and calls upon the IDA and the Company to work with representatives of the Cuba community, including municipal officials, to repurpose the facility and minimize economic harm to the Cuba community.” Legislator Ricci would like it to be recognized that Cuba will suffer economic harm. Chairman Crandall agreed with Legislator Ricci and stated that the “icing on the cake” would be to find another use for the plant in Cuba. Other properties in the County have been able to find new tenants. Legislator Healy stated that he would like to echo some of the comments already made. He has concerns when eminent domain is involved but that there is a time and a place for that process in a case like this. He also agrees with Legislator Ricci’s comments about the Cuba community and the utilization of the facilities in Cuba. Legislator Dibble offered his support for the resolution and thanked Dr. Clark and the IDA for their work. The motion was carried by a voice vote requesting that the resolution be prepared. Prepare Resolution to be Sponsored by Planning & Economic Development Committee

Dr. Clark, on behalf of the Allegany County Industrial Development Agency and Allegany County residents, thanked the Board for its support of the project. Chairman Crandall thanked Dr. Clark for keeping the Board informed. Chairman Crandall stated that the resolution supporting this will be one of the most significant resolutions, due of its economic impact, adopted by this Board in decades.

Executive Session

A motion was made by Legislator Dibble, seconded by Legislator Curran, and carried to enter into executive session at 3:14 p.m. to discuss the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular corporation. Immediately following discussion at 3:24 p.m., a motion was made by Legislator Harris, seconded by Legislator Curran, and carried to end the executive session and return to the regular meeting.

Adjournment

There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was adjourned at 3:24 p.m. following a motion by Legislator Graves, seconded by Legislator Stockin, and carried.

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