Several items of significant importance to Upstate and its economy were not addressed in this year’s budget and we will continue to advocate for them through the remainder of the 2014 legislative session.
Brownfields Cleanup and Superfund Program:
Much of Upstate’s economic past was based around heavy industry; as a result, many of our formerly industrial properties are not able to be affordably re-developed because of significant environmental and safety hazards. The state has implemented a successful brownfields cleanup program that provides incentive and assistance to re-develop these properties, return them to the tax rolls, and improve our communities.
The program is set to expire in 2015 and was not renewed this year. We will continue our work to extend and improve this important economic development program.
Design Build is a method of project construction in which a single entity works under one contract with the project owner to deliver design, construction, engineering and sub-contracting services. Design-Build controls the project from conception to completion, eliminating inefficient and costly redundancies.
The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) estimates that on average, design-build projects are completed 33 percent faster and can save up to six (6) percent on cost.
New York has utilized Design Build since 2011, but during this year’s budget negotiations it was not reauthorized in New York State.
The current Design Build program is in effect through the end of the calendar year and we are optimistic that continued conversations with Gov. Cuomo and other state officials will yield positive results before its expiration.
As previously mentioned, New York State’s myriad of unfunded mandates imposed on local governments are the true cost drivers of high property taxes and provide little fiscal flexibility for towns, villages and school districts. We will continue to pressure Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature to make mandate relief a priority.