OSWEGO, NY – Who’ll pay for a study to bolster Oswego County’s economic future came under debate Thursday afternoon.
The Oswego County Industrial Development Agency and the CNY Regional Planning Board assisted the county in solicitation and evaluation of proposals for consulting services related to development of a strategic economic advancement plan for the county.
The IDA agreed to pay 50 percent of the cost of the study, up to $50,000.
The legislature awarded the contract to Camoin Associates of Saratoga Springs for a fee of $79,914. The county’s share will be paid from the Development Efficiencies Project account.
The firm is tasked with developing a comprehensive, multi-year strategic economic advancement plan for the county that will maximize the county’s current economic strengths, identify untapped economic development opportunities and strategize their launch, identify obstacles to growth and formulate a plan to remove them.
The plan must contain specific goals, strategies and implementation steps.
“Who should pay for this? That’s my question,” Legislator Frank Castiglia said.
He checked with some other counties. Two of them did studies, he said and it was split between the IDA and the county budget.
“Three of the counties, no, the IDA paid for it. The county share was nothing,” he said.
Oswego County supports a third of the operating budget for Operation Oswego County, he pointed out. They also “give the IDA 10 percent of our PILOT, this year, it’s going to be $198,000,” he added.
He said he’d rather see the price tag for Camoin split between the two agencies rather than come out of the county’s budget.
He put it on the floor as an amendment to the resolution under consideration. Marie Schadt seconded the motion.
The motion failed.
“I used to be cynical about studies,” Legislator Shawn Doyle said. “But I think of the kind of studies we have contracted for the past few years have been very beneficial. This is the type of study that we need. It’ll show where we’re going, where we should go, assess our assets as well as our potential.”
The county nearly lost two nuclear plants last year, he reminded the legislators. The county really didn’t have a good plan in place to deal with things if something happened to those plants, he said.
Castiglia agreed the county should have had such a plan years ago.
“I’m sorry. I can’t ask the taxpayers to come up with another $50,000 for a study that should have been done all along,” he said. “We need this study, yes. But not at more cost to the county.”
The results of the study will benefit everyone in the county, Legislator Morris Sorbello said.