Elected officials have six committee meetings planned for the day, one of which is a special Planning and Economic Development session. The Committee of the Whole will begin at 10:00am where legislators are expected to spend most of the meeting in executive session discussing the Great Lakes Cheese incident. For those who haven’t read the latest: Proposed Half-Billion Dollar Cheese Plant Project Abandoned by Developer.
This morning, the Allegany County Industrial Development Agency(ACIDA) released a statement which confirms that reporting. The statement comes on the same day of a special meeting of the county Planning and Economic Development Committee. That meeting is expected to be an executive session discussion about renewing the county contract with Alfred State College. *THIS MEETING WAS CANCELLED TODAY. The Clerk of the Board sent this email today just after noon:
“Due to meeting scheduling restraints, the special Planning & Economic Development Committee meeting scheduled after the Human Services Committee meeting today (06/02) has been cancelled. Any agenda items will be considered at the regular meeting on June 16.“
On May 20th, Alfred State College requested the renewal of a contract with Allegany County for the current economic development program. That contract provides an Alfred State College employee, Dr. Craig Clark, and the resources of the institution to the county for $110,000 per year plus related expenses:
“Alfred State College will provide assistance for the development and implementation of an economic and industrial development program for Allegany County with an emphasis on attracting new businesses and industries to locate within the County and promoting the expansion of existing businesses and industries.”
Dr. Craig Clark serves as the current Executive Director of the Allegany County Industrial Development Agency and is a key man in most county economic development and planning efforts. Clark is well respected as an academic and the relationship with Alfred State College seems to be full of upside for the taxpayer. Supporters will firmly say that this contract with Alfred State College is a partnership that provides us with unique opportunities and resources. Read the full contract:
Clark has been the point man for the Great Lakes Cheese negotiation, which complicates the matter. Several legislators have expressed frustration with Clark and insiders at the county Office of Development(clarification: Office of Planning and Economic Development) have reported systemic problems. Much of the critique of Clark and the ACIDA centers around the management of the nearly year-long Great Lakes Cheese project. The decision by ACIDA to use eminent domain has been very controversial in light of the project failure. That legal action taken by the agency is sure to receive serious scrutiny by legislators today and as details of the now doomed project come to light.