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.

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7 Responses

  1. rogo says:

    Houw bout thane 25 million in def spending since she has ben in???????????????

    • Rob Millan says:

      Once again you’re wrong, and now just beginning to irritate given the number of times you’ve made this false statement on here, other blogs, and the radio. And it becomes more apparent you don’t know what you’re talking about with each and every time you say this.
      This admin has not once spent money on a deficit. Not once. I don’t think you know what ‘deficit spending’ means.
      If the $25MM you’re referring to is the bonding to make critical and vital upgrades to the city’s infrastructure, like fire hydrants, sewer, water treatment plant, etc., then you’re making an illogical connection, as ‘spending money you don’t have’ (‘deficit’), is NOT the same as ‘borrowing and paying back later.’
      If ‘deficit spending’ were the same as you seem to think it is, then you’d have been guilty of this when you bought your house, as it’s pretty likely you took out a mortgage versus paying for it in cash.

    • Rob Millan says:

      Where’s that reply, Rogo?

      • Rogo says:

        Go look open book ny. it shows revenues and expenditures for each year. All but year one during this admin was there deficit spending. waitng for next aud to be ok’d maybe there will be a big winfall!

        • flippinamsterdam says:

          Here is what I wrote in September 2013 :
          Hate to say but

            it’s pretty clear that Total Expenses have exceeded Total Revenues for every year since 2000.

          Interesting, in that once again, what you hear as something ‘shocking’ has actually been going on for a decade, proving that no one has actually looked at the numbers before hitting the panic switch, and seeking to understand the drivers to what might actually be happening or structurally how the city’s finances work. That does not discount the sizable recent jump but it should give pause to drawing hasty conclusions.
          Full post and graphs is here
          The point is that no one , including me, has yet to explain what/why accounts for the large fluctuations in certain years and it certainly is not just on Mayor Thane’s watch but Mayor Emmanuelle’s as well. What I see rather than trying to get clarity and understanding on something complex is intentional misinformation to score political points. It’s really that simple.

  2. wildthane says:

    The reply promotes another falacy as well: that I spend autonymously. The man seems not to understand that it is the Council that must bless off on spending, in the budget and for capital projects that require bonding. ALL spending for the past seven years has required the cooperation of the Council.
    Let’s ask him too: what bonding would you NOT have done? DPW equipment? Demolitions? Street improvements? Water/sewer plant upgrades? Hydrant replacements? Bridge Street revitalization? Let’s hear a well thought out response to these questions.

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