Lessons from Governor Cuomo's 2015 Opportunity Agenda for the City of Amsterdam

Here is something to think about for our local area — Governor Cuomo’s $1.5 billion economic jumpstart competition modeled on a program in Buffalo NY put forth as part of his 2015 Opportunity Agenda.

The full press release is here but this is the salient part:

Projects exhibiting region-wide impact will be made a priority and should focus on strengthening critical infrastructure, revitalizing communities, bolstering workforce development, growing tourism, and improving quality of life. The competition will combine the expertise and structure of the Regional Economic Development Councils with successful elements of Western New York’s Buffalo Billion to develop regional investment plans that identify existing assets, highlight needs and recommend areas of opportunity.

Seven regions are eligible to compete for one of three $500 million upstate revitalization funds

The thing to note with the announcement is that it is competitive — in other words, the quality of ideas and strategies matter in terms of which counties will win and how much.

I’d like to bring this concept of strategy and competition closer to home — the city of Amsterdam.

As ‘salient’ is key word of the day, the salient question centers on what policies and strategies and ideas are we as a city pursuing relative to jumpstarting our local economy?

The answer is clearly not found in the Council’s obsession with the mayor’s car, their focus on banning street basketball or even in banning cell phones at public meetings. In other words, the Council clearly lacks any strategy or initiative to jumpstart the local economy. In short, the Council’s actions get us nowhere.

A while back I proposed a very similar competition-based strategy as the governor’s that would be applied to jumpstarting the city. I think it is worth revisiting and reconsidering. The core of my argument was that we needed a public-private entity that would provide funds to innovative economic development projects. As the project award would be based on a competition to choose the best project concept, it would act as a catalyst to growth by funding the best ideas.

I’ve reworked the original post and it is now called “Go-BIG Jumpstart Amsterdam “.

Let’s for once dispel with the usual nonsense and sideshows and actually strive toward a strategy that fosters real economic development.

You may also like...