By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
Part of our sweeping effort to improve Rockland’s economy involves empowering our local municipal leaders, business owners and non-profits. In the past, our county has left these stakeholders to largely fend for themselves when it came to navigating the confusing web of state-funded programs for job creation and community development projects. This will not be the case under my administration.
Governor Cuomo last week announced more than $750 million up for grabs in the latest competition for state economic development monies. The Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) enables local governments, businesses and others to apply for funding and tax incentives aimed at growing jobs and attracting new industries to New York. While the state has sought to simplify the competition, the process remains dizzying.
To make certain our county performs well in the battle for state dollars, we’ve brought together three recognized leaders to help secure the resources: Rockland Community College President Dr. Cliff L. Wood, Rockland Business Association President/CEO Al Samuels and Rockland County’s new director of Economic Development, Calherbe Monel.
Dr. Wood and Samuels are Rockland’s two representatives on the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. Both men have made it a priority to meet with individuals developing job-creating proposals and have agreed to share “business sense” with groups and organizations vying for state funds and tax breaks.
Interested parties are encouraged to attend a special information session on this year’s CFA process. Wood, Samuels and Monel will lead the event on Thursday, May 15 from 8 to 9 a.m. in the Cultural Art Center at Rockland Community College in Suffern.
This effort to assemble ideas and expertise is the first step in creating a Countywide Council on Economic Growth. By working together to motivate investment opportunities and job creation, our quest for brighter financial times will gain momentum. By gathering stakeholders to share strategies, we will put Rockland County on the right track.
Last year, Rockland County fared poorly in the state’s CFA competition. Of the 84 projects submitted by local businesses and communities, only THREE were awarded grant funding. No state money was offered to four of our five towns. We are working hard to make certain this will not happen again.
As our applicants develop innovative, job-creating CFA projects over the next few weeks, I urge them to meet with our trio of economic experts for guidance. By changing the formula and working together, we will make certain Rockland County leads the pack in the 2014 race for state investment dollars. We must improve results to make certain our communities continue to grow and compete regionally and globally. Our residents, key employers and talented workforce deserve nothing less.