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Links roundup—extended edition

November 7, 2011

NYPA

  • The New York Power Authority and St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency have resumed discussions of the long-stalled 20-megawatt power contract intended to allocate cheap power to local businesses and spur economic growth. [Watertown Daily Times]

MTA

  • 56% of voters support the MTA payroll tax. [Second Ave. Sagas]
  • And New York’s mayoral candidates think the state should reinstate the commuter tax to fund the MTA and other mass transit authorities. [Capital NY]
  • The MTA’s going to New Jersey! [Gothamist]
  • A nice piece on Mike Horodniceanu, who’s “possibly the least well-known and most respected high-level M.T.A. official…. He is in charge of every major construction project the authority is undertaking, including but not limited to complex undertakings like the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access, a plan that would make it possible for commuter rail from Long Island to reach Grand Central Station.” [Captal NY]

Economic development

  • A pork processing company will stay in New York if it receives enough public subsidies for its lofty expansion plan. “Everything we want to do is subject to incentives,” the company’s owner said. “We can’t go forward without them.” [Buffalo Law Journal]
  • At the request of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, the New York City Independent Budget Office created a database allowing it to look more closely at the distribution of economic development subsidies issued by the Economic Development Corporation. Even with recent improvements in reporting methodology, however, the EDC reports still don’t provide us with all the data necessary to evaluate the city’s job creation and job retention efforts in terms of cost per jon or to determine the types of projects that use subsidies most effectively. [NYC IBO Fiscal Brief]
  • Is the ABO’s recent report criticizing inappropriate direct grants from IDAs having unforeseen, negative consequences? [Fairport-East Rochester Post]

LDCs

  • Say hello to New York’s newest group of public authority LDCs: land banks. The legislation, which was passed this summer, “allows municipalities to establish land banks for the purpose of acquiring real property that is tax delinquent, tax foreclosed, vacant, or abandoned. Once they establish a land bank, municipalities can then design, develop, construct, demolish, reconstruct, rehabilitate, renovate, relocate, and otherwise improve upon banked real property.” [NYSAC]
  • The Town of Plattsburgh Local Development Corporation has signed an agreement with the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation to provide low-interest loans to businesses. [Press-Republican]

Debt

  • New York is at the top of the debt list in the latest U.S. Census data on state and local government finances. As of 2009, New York’s state and local long-term indebtedness came to $15,202 per-capita, more than any state and 74 percent above the national average.” [The Torch]

Housing

  • The Newark Housing Authority unveiled plans to spend $50 million on energy efficiency retrofits at more than 7,000 residences, creating 60 jobs at the same time. [NJ.com]
  • Public housing authorities have to enforce certain housing quality standards before they give out Section 8 status to property owners, and according to a federal district court case from Pennsylvania, authorities may be liable for “state-created danger” claims if they fail to do so. Henry v. City of Erie, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110562 (W.D.Pa. Sep. 28, 2011).

Miscellaneous

  • Why public transportation deserves more attention. [Infrastructurist]
  • Brookfield Office Properties, which owns the tower across the street from Zuccotti Park, has received $460,000 in subsidies since 2001, and its tenants have received another $20.1 million. “There has been a lot of debate about whether Occupy Wall Street should get to stay in the park,” said Bettina Damiani, project director for Good Jobs New York. “We think it is important for people to know these companies are getting government subsidies.” [Crain’s]
  • The director of the Port of Oswego Authority is trying to convince the Department of Environmental Conservation that its proposed ballast water regulations are unnecessary and will hurt economic development. “Currently, the regulations would require that all commercial vessels operating in New York’s waters… they need to be able to clean and treat their water to a standard that is 100 times (greater than) current international maritime organization standards…. It’s a little bit of a problem — no technology exists to treat to 100 times….” [Palladium Times]
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