At the annual meeting of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC), hosted by Veraisions Restaurant at Glenora Wine Cellars, Steve Griffin, CEO of FLEDC  (Yates County’s sole industrial and economic development agency), played his primary role as head cheerleader for Yates County business. Speaking to the largest number of local business and political figures ever to attend the annual meeting, Griffin made the most of the time he held their attention. 

The Bonadio Group recently completed their audit of the three entities that make up FLEDC’s structure, and reported all three to be healthy and well run. Griffin heaped deserved praise on FLEDC’s CFO Doreen Jensen for her constant attention to the books and preparations for the audit.

The three person staff of FLEDC, including Griffin, have earned a state-wide reputation for remarkable effectiveness and efficiency. Griffin noted that Yates County has averaged two new businesses every three months since 2007. And while there was a smaller number of business loans approved  by FLEDC in 2017, the average loan size was larger

• Lent out $759,500

• Avg. loan $108,500

FLEDC currently has 26 Active Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements (PILOTs) in place. The business incentive program has fostered nearly $50 million in increased values by offering sales and mortgage tax abatements and a graduated schedule of property tax increases for improvement values. For local municipalities and schools, these have generated nearly $1.5 million in additional annual tax revenues, according to Griffin’s presentation. He presented local project highlights for 2017:

Horizon Business Park

• Four buildings completed construction

• One building expanded

• One building started

Community Growth

• YCRR Community Fields

• Dundee & Middlesex Public Investment

• Yates County Natural & Recreational Resource fund

•  Main Street Grant

New Faces

• Yates County Chamber of Commerce President - Jessica Bacher

• FLEDC Economic Development Specialist - Michael Lipari

Reputation Building

• NYSEDC Economic Developer of the Year - Steve Griffin

As evidence of needed recreational and cultural improvements in Yates County, Griffin pointed to YCRR (Yates Community Recreational Resources) which is moving ahead with a $1.25 million expansion of their athletic fields this year after being awarded $500,000 in a N.Y. state grant.

Griffin also extolled the Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium, saying, “The FLMA exists today and is fulfilling its mission as a museum without walls.”

FLMA 2017 Programming Included:

• Kayak & Canoe Tours

• Wetland, Woods & Bird Walks

• Wildlife Photography

• Timber-Frame Workshops

Site Work Included:

• Completion of roof parapet to existing building

• Permanent Office built onsite

• New entrance and directional signage

In 2018 the FLMA will enter into a partnership with the famed outdoor stores of L.L.Bean of Freeport, Maine. There will be clinics with L.L.Bean experts for:

• Hiking & Camping Strategies

• Hiking & Camping Hacks

• Map & Compass Navigation

• Animal Tracking 101

• Finger Lakes Gear Festival; a one-day sale of gently used outdoor gear collected from Victor store

Site plans at FLMA in 2018 include:

• New trails & boardwalk in Wildlife Preserve

• Lakeside pavilion

• Interpretative signage throughout