WESTERN NEW YORK POWER PROCEEDS ALLOCATION BOARD

 

MINUTES

 

November 18, 2013 – 3:00 P.M.

Empire State Development Corporation

95 Perry Street

Buffalo, New York 14203

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

            Subject                                                                                                Page No.                     Exhibit

 

Opening Remarks                                                                         2    

 

1.                  Adoption of the Proposed Meeting Agenda                                  2

 

2.                  Adoption of September 10, 2013 Meeting Minutes                      2

 

3.                  Adoption of  WNYPPAB Standard of Conduct Policy                 2

 

4.                  Fund Balance Update                                                                   6                            

 

5.                  Round Four - Award of Fund Benefits                                         7                            

                                                                                                                                     

6.                  Next Meeting and Adjournment                                                   14

 

 


Minutes of the Meeting of the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board held via video conference in Buffalo, New York.

 

Board Members Present:

Anthony J. Colucci III (Chairman)

Deanna Alterio Brennen

Dennis Elsenbeck

Brenda Williams McDuffie

Henry F. Wojtaszek

 

NYPA Staff Present:

Karen Delince              Corporate Secretary (via video in White Plains)

Deborah Hopke                       Principal Attorney I (via video in White Plains)

Melinda Li                   Senior Attorney II (via video in White Plains)

            Michael Huvane          Vice President Marketing – Business & Municipal Marketing

            John Giumarra                                     Account Executive, Business Marketing & Economic Development (via video in White Plains)

                        Chris Vitale                  Account Executive, Business Marketing & Economic Development  

 

 

ESDC Staff Present:

Richard Ball                 Project Manager

Sam Hoyt                     Regional President

Christina Orsi               Western New York Regional Director

 

Guest:

Scott Fein                     Counsel from Whitman, Osterman & Hannah

Howard A. Zemsky     Western New York Regional Council Co-Chair

 

 


 

Opening Remarks

 

            Chairman Colucci welcomed members of the Board, the staff of Empire State Development Corporation (“ESDC”), and the staff of the New York Power Authority (“NYPA”).  He stated that this meeting of the Board had been duly noticed as required by the Open Meetings law.

 

1.                  Adoption of November 18, 2013 Agenda

 

The agenda for the November 18, 2013 meeting was unanimously adopted.

 

Conflicts of Interest

           

Member

 

Conflicts

Reason

Anthony Colucci

Flat #12 Mushrooms (ineligible)

Close personal relationship w/family

Henry Wojtaszek

Ford Motor Company and Niagara University (recommended)

 

Dennis Elsenbeck

Buffalo Niagara Enterprises (deferred)

Steering Board Member

Deanna Alterio Brennen

Visit Buffalo Niagara

Board member

Brenda Williams McDuffie

No conflicts

 

 

 

2.                  Adoption of September 10, 2013 Meeting Minutes

 

Chairman Colucci asked whether there are any further amendments. 

 

Upon motion made by member Wojtaszek and seconded by member Brennen, the September 10, 2013 meeting minutes were unanimously adopted.

 

3.                  Adoption of Standards of Conduct Policy

 

Scott Fein, Esq. of Whitman, Osterman & Hannah reviewed the requirements under the law and presented the policies for the Board’s consideration

 

Upon motion made by member Brennen and seconded by member McDuffie, the following Standards of Conduct Policy was adopted:

 

Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board Standards of Conduct

 

1.0       Purpose

 

The purpose of these Standards of Conduct (Standards) is to ensure that members of the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board (“WNYPPAB” or “Board”) identify and disclose certain issues which arise from their private interests when performing public duties imposed on them as a WNYPPAB member, and take appropriate actions in response to potential conflicts of interest. 

 

Advisory Opinion (“AO”) No. 98-07, issued by the New York State Ethics Commission (“Commission”),[1] provides that Public Officers Law (“POL”) § 74, entitled “Code of Ethics,” applies to members of advisory boards (1) who are designated as policymakers, or (2) when at least one member of any such board is appointed by the Governor. 

 

While this opinion does not specifically mention WNYPPAB, the Board has determined that WNYPPAB members should conform their individual conduct to the requirements of POL § 74.[2]

 

2.0       Implementation

 

            These Standards shall apply to all Board members.  A copy of these Standards shall be furnished to every person who is appointed to the Board, who shall be required to acknowledge receipt of these Standards in writing.

 

3.0       POL § 74

 

POL § 74, entitled “Code of Ethics,” provides the minimum standards against which State officers and employees are expected to gauge their behavior.  The Code of Ethics, which is comprised of a “rule with respect to conflicts of interest” and “standards,” addresses issues relating to the conflict between the obligation of public service and private, often personal, financial interest. 

 

The “rule with respect to conflicts of interest” (“Rule”) provides:

 

No officer or employee of a state agency . . . should have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature, which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest.

 

Following the Rule with respect to conflicts of interest, POL §74(3) establishes the following nine (9) standards of conduct (“Standards”) which address actual as well as apparent conflicts of interest:

 

  a. No officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature or legislative employee should accept other employment which will impair his independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties.

 

    b. No officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature or legislative employee should accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity which will require him to disclose confidential information which he has gained by reason of his official position or authority.

 

    c. No officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature or legislative employee should disclose confidential information acquired by him in the course of his official duties nor use such information to further his personal interests.

 

    d. No officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature or legislative employee should use or attempt to use his or her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself or herself or others, including but not limited to, the misappropriation to himself, herself or to others of the property, services or other resources of the state for private business or other compensated non-governmental purposes.

 

    e. No officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature or legislative employee should engage in any transaction as representative or agent of the state with any business entity in which he has a direct or indirect financial interest that might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of his official duties.

 

    f. An officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature or legislative employee should not by his conduct give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties, or that he is affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person.

 

    g. An officer or employee of a state agency should abstain from making personal investments in enterprises which he has reason to believe may be directly involved in decisions to be made by him or which will otherwise create substantial conflict between his duty in the public interest and his private interest.

 

    h. An officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature or legislative employee should endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that he is likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of his trust.

 

    i. No officer or employee of a state agency employed on a full-time basis nor any firm or association of which such an officer or employee is a member nor corporation a substantial portion of the stock of which is owned or controlled directly or indirectly by such officer or employee, should sell goods or services to any person, firm, corporation or association which is licensed or whose rates are fixed by the state agency in which such officer or employee serves or is employed.[3]

 

4.0       Application

 

Under these Standards, WNYPPAB members must avoid a conflict between their private interests and their public duties.  Therefore, members must consider the Standards on an ongoing basis when matters come before WNYPPAB. 

 

For example, in certain cases, the Standards may require WNYPPAB members to disclose conflicts and refrain from deliberating and voting on matters involving actual or potential conflicts of interest. 

 

Whether disclosure and/or recusal, or some other action is required by a board member often depends on the circumstances of the individual matter.  Advisory Opinion Nos. 95-29 and 93-16 may help to provide some insight on how the Commission applies the requirements of POL § 74 to the facts of individual cases. 

 

In Advisory Opinion No. 95-29, the Commission was asked whether a State agency employee may serve as a board member of an industrial development agency (“IDA”).  The employee was responsible for legal staff development, supervision and management activities, and performing substantive work on legislation and regulations sent to the employee’s agency by various State entities, and making decisions regarding which regulations or regulatory schemes are candidates for regulatory reform and periodically will review regulations that directly affect IDAs.

 

Referencing the Rule and Standards (3)(a), (b), (c), (f) and (h), the Commission noted that POL §74 prohibits a State officer or employee from engaging in an outside activity over which the individual has substantial regulatory or enforcement responsibility, and in some a State employee may engage in outside activities provided there was disclosure and recusal in appropriate circumstances.  However, if a State employee must recuse in a State position so frequently so as to limit the employee’s ability to perform the State job, a conflict is presented that precludes the non-State activity.

 

The Commission determined that the State employee in this case may continue to serve on the IDA board because it did not appear there would be an inordinate number of regulatory issues before the State agency directly affecting IDAs.  It cautioned that the State employee should, in his State position, recuse himself from consideration of matters concerning IDAs.  In addition, to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, the Commission concluded that he should, at an IDA meeting, disclose his State position to his colleagues and the public, and recuse himself on any State regulatory matters that come before the IDA board.  According to the Commission, these steps would serve to ensure that the employee remains in compliance with POL § 74.

 

In Advisory Opinion No. 93-16, the Commission was asked about the propriety of a member of a State board serving full-time as an officer of two private organizations.  The State Board member would have occasion to vote on applications of members of the two private organizations, and approval of the application would be an economic benefit to the applicant.  The role of the private organizations is to support and lobby on behalf of their members. 

 

The Commission determined that the Board member has at least an indirect financial interest in the private entities that might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of his official duties for the State board, and therefore it would be a violation of §74(3)(e) for him to engage in review of these entities' applications as a representative of the State. 

 

The Commission also noted that POL §74 addresses not only actual but apparent conflicts of interest, and that under § 74(3)(f), a State officer or employee should not give reasonable basis for the impression that he or she is affected by the position or influence of any party or person or that any party or person can unduly enjoy his or her favor in the performance of official duties.  Given that the State board member’s employment with the two private organizations centered on promoting and lobbying on behalf of their members, and the State board member’s position allows him to determine which applicants receive the economic benefits, it is foreseeable that the public might suspect that he is favorably disposed toward the two private organizations when making determinations in his official public position.

 

Accordingly, the Commission advised that the State board member should recuse himself from voting as a member of the State board upon applications of members of the two private organizations, and the individual should not provide any assistance to members of the private organizations that are preparing applications for the Board, or consult with any other member of the Board as to the merits of such applications.

 

Another example of a prohibited action is acceptance by a board member of a gift from a party interested in the outcome of a subject the board is considering.  The Commission, in Advisory Opinion No. 98-07, gives the following example:

 

[I]f an advisory board to the Insurance Superintendent were to advise him as to whether he should permit mutual companies to be converted into stock companies, a board member should not accept a gift from a mutual company that is actively seeking to convert.  In general, acceptance of a gift from a party directly interested in a board's discussions would be a conflict of interest and a violation of §74. 

Acceptance of a gift may also violate other provisions of the POL, such as POL § 73(5).  For example, POL § 73(5)(a) provides in part:

No . . . state officer or employee . . . shall, directly or indirectly . . .solicit, accept or receive any gift having more than a nominal value, whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, lodging, meals, refreshments, entertainment, discount, forbearance or promise, or in any other form, under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended to influence him, or could reasonably be expected to influence him, in the performance of his official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his part.

5.0       Reporting Unethical Behavior & Guidance

 

            Members are encouraged to report actual or suspected unethical behavior to the Commission.  Any information concerning corruption, fraud, criminal activity, conflicts of interest or abuse must be reported to the NYS Office of the Inspector General.  Anyone reporting an ethical concern or improper governmental action in good faith or participating in the investigation of a reported concern is protected by law.

 

The Commission is available to provide guidance and issue advisory opinions relating the requirements of POL §74 and related statutory provisions. 

 

If you believe there are circumstances that may merit disclosure and/or recusal or you are uncertain about the application of the law to a particular circumstance, you should contact the Commission.  The Commission may be contacted for legal guidance by e-mail (legal@jcope.ny.gov) or by telephone (518-408-3976).  The following is the link to the Commission’s internet website: http://www.jcope.ny.gov. 

 

In addition, NYPA’s Law Department may be able to assist you on issues relating to POL §74 and facilitate communications between Board members and the Commission.

 

 

4.                  Fund Balance Update

 

Mr. Michael Huvane submitted the following report:

 

The Western New York Economic Development Fund is created and administered by the Authority. It is funded with the aggregate excess of revenues  (“net earnings”) received by NYPA from the sale of Expansion and Replacement Power produced at the Niagara Power Project that was sold in the wholesale energy market over what revenues would have been received has such Power been sold on a firm basis to an eligible Expansion or Replacement Power customer.

 


 

As of October 2013 there is $24,810,204 available to allocate as Fund Benefits.

 

A deposit of $1,432,000 was made after the meeting.

 

The next deposit is expected to be in January 2014.

 

To date, WNYPPAB has recommended a total benefit award of $12,689,412.

NYPA Trustees have approved a total of $9,289,412 Awards. 

 

A total of 7 recommended awards before the Board today

A total award recommendation of $2,115,000 is before the Board today.  

 

At present, there is 44MW of unallocated power and

47MW of allocated by unused power.

The total estimated unutilized EP and RP as of September 1, 2013 is 91MW.

 

Under the law, a minimum of 15% of the funds must be awarded to “energy-related projects, programs and services.”  Staff is keeping a separate accounting of these projects.

 

The total awards made for energy-related projects to date are 2% (as a percentage of the total awards) or 1% of the total deposits to the Fund.

 

The total award made for energy-related projects in dollars to date is $300,000 and the currently available fund to be awarded for energy-related projects is $3,636,331.

 

Chairman thanked Mr. Huvane for the report.

 

 

5.                  Round Four – Award of Fund Benefits   

Ms. Christina Orsi, ESDC’s Western New York Regional Director, submitted the following report and resolution for consideration and adoption:

 

SUMMARY

           

The Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board (“Allocation Board” or “Board”) is requested to recommend to the Board of Trustees of the Power Authority of the State of New York (“NYPA” or “Authority”) that awards of Fund Benefits be made to the eight applicants found in Exhibit “A”, Exhibit “B”, Exhibit “C”, Exhibit “D”, Exhibit “E”, Exhibit “F”, Exhibit “G” in the amounts indicated in each Exhibit.

 

The Board is also requested to find and determine that: (1) the applications listed in Exhibit “H” will not receive a recommendation for an award of Fund Benefits based upon the application of the relevant program criteria to such applications; and (2) the applications listed on Exhibit “I” propose projects that are not eligible projects for Fund Benefits for the reasons described below.

 

The Board is also requested to defer consideration of the applications listed in Exhibit “J” until a later time.

           

BACKGROUND

 

  1. Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act

 

On March 30, 2012, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act (the “Act”).  The Act provides for the creation, by the Authority, of the Western New York Economic Development Fund (“Fund”).  The Fund consists of the aggregate excess of revenues received by the Authority from the sale of Expansion Power (“EP”) and Replacement Power (“RP”) produced at NYPA’s Niagara Power Project that was sold in the wholesale energy market over what revenues would have been received had such energy been sold on a firm basis to an eligible EP or RP customer under the applicable tariff or contract.

 

            Under the Act, an “eligible applicant” is a private business, including a not-for-profit corporation.  “Eligible projects” is defined to mean “economic development projects by eligible applicants that are physically located within the state of New York within a thirty mile radius of the Niagara power project located in Lewiston, New York that will support the growth of business in the state and thereby lead to the creation or maintenance of jobs and tax revenues for the state and local governments.”  Eligible projects include, for example, capital investments in buildings, equipment, and associated infrastructure owned by an eligible applicant for fund benefits; transportation projects under state or federally approved plans; the acquisition of land needed for infrastructure; research and development where the results of such research and development will directly benefit New York state; support for tourism and marketing and advertising efforts for western New York state tourism and business; and energy-related projects.

 

Eligible projects do not include public interest advertising or advocacy; lobbying; the support or opposition of any candidate for public office; the support or opposition to any public issue; legal fees related to litigation of any kind; expenses related to administrative proceedings before state or local agencies; or retail businesses as defined by the board, including without limitation, sports venues, gaming and gambling or entertainment-related establishments, residential properties, or places of overnight accommodation.

 

Fund Benefits are payable to successful eligible applicants for eligible projects in the form of grants. It is anticipated that Fund Benefits will be disbursed by NYPA as reimbursement for expenses incurred by the Eligible Applicant.   

 

At least 15% percent of Fund Benefits must be dedicated to eligible projects which are “energy-related projects, programs and services,” which is “energy efficiency projects and services, clean energy technology projects and services, and high performance and sustainable building programs and services, and the construction, installation and/or operation of facilities or equipment done in connection with any such projects, programs or services.”

 

Allocations of Fund Benefits may only be made on the basis of moneys that have been deposited in the Fund. No award may encumber funds that have not been deposited in the Fund.

 

  1. Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board

 

Under the Act, the Allocation Board is charged with soliciting applications for Fund Benefits, reviewing applications, making eligibility determinations, evaluating the merits of applications for Fund Benefits, and making recommendations to NYPA on Fund Benefit awards.  The Allocation Board uses the criteria applicable to EP, RP and PP allocations, and for revitalization of industry, provided for in Public Authorities Law § 1005. Additionally, the Board is authorized to consider the extent to which an award of Fund Benefits is consistent with the strategies and priorities of the Regional Economic Development Council having responsibility for the region in which an eligible project is proposed. 

 

At its meeting on March 4, 2013, the Board, in accordance with the Act, adopted by-laws, operating procedures, guidelines related to the application, and a form of application.  A copy of the relevant criteria (collectively, “Program Criteria”), adapted from this Board’s “Procedures for the Review of Applications for Fund Benefits,” is attached as Exhibit “K.”

 

The Board also defined “retail business” to mean “a business that is primarily used in making retail sales of goods or services to customers who personally visit such facilities to obtain goods or services.”

 

Finally, the Board designated the Western New York Regional Director, Empire State Development Corporation to act on its behalf for administrative matters and along with NYPA, to provide staff services (“Staff”).  Among other things, Staff was authorized to perform analyses of applications seeking Fund Benefits and to make recommendations to the Board on the applications. 

 

  1. Application Process

 

The Allocation Board established a series of application due dates coupled with a schedule of dates through the end of 2013 on which dates the Board expected to meet to consider applications.  In addition, the application process was promoted through a media release and with assistance from state and local entities, including the Western New York and Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Councils, the Empire State Development Corporation and other local and regional economic development organizations within the State.  A webpage was created that is hosted on WWW.NYPA.GOV/WNYPPAB with application instructions, a link to the approved application form and other program details including a contact phone number and email address staffed by the Western New York Empire State Development regional office.

 

In this fourth round, the Board received 40 applications collectively seeking over $23 million in Fund Benefits. Staff analyzed the applications and is now making recommendations to the Allocation Board on all applications.

 

DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE BOARD

                       

Staff has reviewed the applications received during the fourth solicitation round, and is making the following recommendations to the Board.

 

1.       Recommendations for Awards of Fund Benefits

 

            Based on a review of the applications and an application of relevant Program Criteria, Staff recommends that the Allocation Board recommend to NYPA Trustees that the seven applications listed on Exhibit “A”, Exhibit “B”, Exhibit “C” , Exhibit “D”, Exhibit “E”, Exhibit “F”, and Exhibit “G” each receive an award of Fund Benefits in the amount indicated. Collectively, these applicants have indicated that the proposed projects would create or retain 902 jobs in Western New York.  The total amount to be expended on the projects proposed by these applications is expected to exceed $108M. 

 

            Staff has been advised that one or more of these applications may propose projects that must receive approvals and/or comply with other legal requirements, such as the State Environmental Quality Review Act, before they may proceed.  Staff recommends that any affirmative recommendation by the Board for any such project not be forwarded to the NYPA for action until after the Board receives appropriate notification that all such approvals and requirements have been satisfied, and that such recommendations be made subject to further consideration by Board in the event that such approvals and/or legal requirements are not satisfied.

 

2.      Recommendations for No Award

 

Based on a review of the applications and an application of relevant Program Criteria, Staff recommends that the Allocation Board determine that no recommendation for an award of Fund Benefits will be made to the NYPA Trustees for the applications listed in Exhibit “H.” 

 

3.      Ineligible Projects

 

Economic Development Law (“EDL”) § 189-a(5) defines “eligible projects” and further excludes certain categories of projects from such definition, including “retail businesses” as defined by the WNYPPAB and “residential properties.”  As noted above, the Board has defined “retail business” to mean “a business that is primarily used in making retail sales of goods or services to customers who personally visit such facilities to obtain goods or services.” 

 

Based on an application of EDL § 189-a(5) and the Board’s definition of “retail business,” Staff recommends that the Board find and determine that the applications listed on Exhibit “I” propose projects that are not eligible projects for the following reasons: (1) the application submitted by Lewiston Frontier House proposes a project that is a retail business; and (2) the applications proposed by 1106 and 1110 Main Street, and 400 Elmwood Redevelopment, propose projects that are residential in nature.

 

4.      Recommendation for Future Consideration

 

The Board is also requested to defer the applications listed in Exhibit “J” for consideration at a later time.

 

PROJECT STATUS

 

Under the Act, a recommendation for Fund Benefits by the Allocation Board is a prerequisite to an award of Fund Benefits by NYPA. Upon a showing of good cause, NYPA has discretion to adopt the Allocation Board’s recommendation or to award Fund Benefits in a different amount or on different terms than recommended by the Board.  In addition, the Authority is authorized to include in any contract providing for the implementation of an award (“Award Contract”) any terms and conditions that NYPA deems appropriate.

 

Given the preliminary stage of the seven projects identified on Exhibit “A”, Exhibit “B”, Exhibit “C”, Exhibit “D”, Exhibit “E”, Exhibit “F”, Exhibit “G”, Staff is not in a position to recommend any specific terms and conditions that might be included in the Board’s recommendations for awards.  It is anticipated that NYPA staff, in consultation with Staff, will negotiate final terms and conditions with successful applicants after the receipt of more detailed information concerning the projects. 

 

Recommendation

 

Based on the foregoing discussion and information, Staff recommends that the Allocation Board:

 

(1)   recommend to the NYPA Board of Trustees that each of the applicants listed in Exhibit “A”, Exhibit “B”, Exhibit “C”, Exhibit “D”, Exhibit “E”, Exhibit “F”, and Exhibit “G” receive an award of Fund Benefits in the amounts recommended in the Exhibits;

(2)   find and determine that the applications listed in Exhibit “H” will not receive a recommendation for an award of Fund Benefits;

(3)   find and determine that the applications listed in Exhibit “I” each proposes a project that is not an eligible project; and

(4)   defer consideration of the applications listed in Exhibit “J” for a later time.

 

For the reasons stated, Staff recommends the adoption of the above-requested action by adoption of a resolution in the form of the attached draft resolution.

 

 

R E S O L U T I O N

           

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board (“Allocation Board”) hereby recommends that the Power Authority of the State of New York (“NYPA”) grant an award of Fund Benefits to the applicants listed in Exhibit “A”, Exhibit “B”, Exhibit “C”, Exhibit “D”, Exhibit “E”, Exhibit “F”, Exhibit “G”, in the amounts recommended therein, for the reasons set forth in the attached memorandum and the attachments thereto, provided that (i) applications which propose projects that must receive approvals and/or comply with other legal requirements, such as the State Environmental Quality Review Act, before they may proceed shall not be forwarded to NYPA until Staff, on behalf of the Board, receives appropriate notification that legal approvals and/or requirements which are necessary for the project to proceed have been satisfied, and (ii) such recommendations shall be subject to further Board review in the event that such approvals and/or legal requirements are not satisfied; and be it further

 

RESOLVED, That the Allocation Board hereby finds and determines that the applications listed in Exhibit “H” are not recommended for an award of Fund Benefits for the reasons set forth in the attached memorandum and the attachments thereto; and be it further

 

RESOLVED, That the Allocation Board hereby finds and determines that the applications listed in Exhibit “I” propose projects that are not eligible projects for the reasons set forth in the attached memorandum and the attachments thereto, and therefore are not eligible to receive Fund Benefits; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Allocation Board hereby finds and determines that the applications listed in Exhibit “J” will be deferred for consideration at a later time; and be it further

 

            RESOLVED, That Staff is authorized on behalf of the Allocation Board to transmit the Board’s decision and recommendations to NYPA, and to do any and all things and take any and all actions to effectuate the Board’s decision and the foregoing resolution.

 

a.      Recommendations for Awards of Fund Benefits

 

Mr. Ball, ESDC’s Project Director, presented the allocation recommendations.

 

Ford Motor Company

 

            Mr. Ball said that staff recommends an award of $1 million for the Ford Motor Company’s proposed project to modernize the Buffalo stamping plant, which will enhance the plant’s ability to compete as a world-class stamping manufacturer. The investment will be used to upgrade the plant and permit the hiring and training of 100 new employees.

 

            Upon motion made by member McDuffie and seconded by member Elsenbeck with member Wojtaszek abstaining, the Board adopted the resolution regarding Ford Motor Company.

 

Lineagen, Inc.

 

            Mr. Ball said that staff recommends an award of $250,000 to Lineagen, Inc., which operates a genetic testing service for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The project will provide the sales, technical and bioinformatics staff necessary to provide Lineagen’s current genetic test offering to western New York and to complete development of new risk-based tests that will improve clinical management for these patients. This project will create 8 new jobs in the area.

 

Upon motion made by member Wojtaszek and seconded by member Elsenbeck the Board adopted the resolution regarding Lineagen, Inc.

 

Niagara University

 

Mr. Ball said that staff recommends an award of $250,000 for Niagara University to establish the Niagara Global Tourism Institute with the primary goal to make WNY more competitive in the tourism industry.

 

In response to a question by member Elsenbeck, Mr. Ball said that the University wants to start on the project immediately. We plan to partner with them during phase one of the project, which should last a little over one year.

 

Upon motion made by member McDuffie and seconded by member Brennen with member Wojtaszek abstaining, the Board adopted the resolution regarding Niagara University.

 

Visit Buffalo Niagara

 

Mr. Ball said that staff recommends an award of $250,000 for Visit Buffalo Niagara for an initiative to that will broaden the interests of the Canadian visitor in the WNY Region.

 

Upon motion made by member McDuffie and seconded by member Elsenbeck with member Brennen abstaining, the Board adopted the resolution regarding Visit Buffalo Niagara.

 

Washington Mills Electro Minerals Corp

 

Mr. Ball said that staff recommends an award of up to $140,000 for Washington Mills Electro Minerals Corp.  This project proposes to upgrade an existing high temperature arc furnace with new, state of the art electrode controls and improve the company’s material handling systems. This will give the Niagara Falls facility the ability to produce fused mineral products that are currently imported from Canada.  In addition to securing that production work for WNY and removing the possibility of additional operations moving north of the border, the project will make the Niagara Falls facility far more energy-efficient, giving the company an estimated savings of 2-4% on its energy usage while creating a more superior product.

 

Upon motion made by member Wojtaszek and seconded by member Elsenbeck, the Board adopted the resolution regarding Washington Mills Electro Mineral Corp.

 


 

CNC Technical Solutions, Inc. Reclaim Center

 

Mr. Ball said that staff recommends an award of $75,000 for CNC Technical Solutions, Inc. Reclaim Center for a project which will expand the capacity and the scope of its industrial control systems reclamation business.  As the need for less expensive alternatives to brand new industrial control systems grows across the United States, companies that are in the reclamation and refurbishment of industrial control systems, like CNC, are finding themselves in a position to grow with market trends. CNC has been a staple business in the Medina community for more than 10 years and as a member of this community would like to grow its business in Medina.

 

Upon motion made by member Wojtaszek and seconded by member Brennen, the Board adopted the resolution regarding CNC Technical Solutions, Inc. Reclaim Center.

 

Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation

 

Mr. Ball said that staff recommends an award of $150,000 for Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation. Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation is one of the most heavily visited historic sites in Western New York.

 

Upon motion made by member Brennen and seconded by member McDuffie, the Board adopted the resolution regarding Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation.

 

b.      Recommendations for No Award

 

            Mr. Ball said that staff recommends that no award allocations on the following applications:

Flat #12 Mushrooms, LLC; CNC Technical Solutions, Inc. Training Center; Niagara Arts & Cultural Center, Inc.; Alix Rice Peace Park Foundation Inc.; Helios-NRG, LLC; Precision Scientific Instruments

Hull House Foundation; Roar Logistics; Justice Lifeline, Inc.; Somerset Union Museum; MergerShark, Inc.; TAM Ceramics Group of NY, LLC.

 

            Chairman Colucci explained that CNC Technical Solution had submitted two applications – one application was just approved and this application for $246,000 is being recommended for no award at this time.

 

            Upon motion made by member McDuffie and seconded by member Elsenbeck, with Chairman Colucci abstaining regarding Flat#12 Mushrooms, LLC, the Board adopted the resolution not to recommend awards to the companies listed in Exhibit H.

 

c.       Ineligible Projects

 

Mr. Ball said that after review, staff believes that the following applications are not eligible for award from the Western New York Economic Development Fund under the law: Lewiston Frontier House; 1106 & 1110 Main Street; 400 Elmwood Redevelopment.

 

 

Upon motion made by member Wojtaszek and seconded by member McDuffie resolution regarding ineligible projects listed in Exhibit I was adopted.


d.      Recommendation for Future Consideration

 

Mr. Ball said a more in depth analysis is necessary for the projects listed in Exhibit J and staff recommends they be deferred to a later time.

 

Upon motion made by member McDuffie and seconded by member Brennen, with member Elsenbeck abstaining regarding Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, the resolution to defer consideration of the following companies listed in Exhibit J was adopted:  Arts Services Initiative of WNY, Inc.; Buffalo Niagara Enterprise; Buffalo Maritime Center; Riviera Theatre; Niagara Co. Historical Society d/b/a The History Center of Niagara; Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), MSO, LLC; Onyx Administrative Services of Buffalo New York, LLC; Buffalo Syngas, LLC; Entecco, LLC; Paradigm of WNY, LLC; SyncroPET; City Labs, Inc. a Florida Corporation; Humble Pie; Living Green Insulation Products and Services; Sterling Energy; Trek Industries; Triad Recycling; Eden Valley Growers.

 

Mr. Ball noted for the record that moving forward; a rolling application process will be used in order to be more responsive to the applicants.

 

 

6.                  Next Meeting and Adjournment

 

            Chairman Colucci said the next meeting of the Board is scheduled for February 3, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at the Empire State Development Corporation, Buffalo, New York. 

 

            Member Elsenbeck said that he was overwhelmed by the amount of time spent on each application and asked staff to consider refining the process to make it more focused. He asked staff to formulate an analysis.

 

            Chairman Colucci said that the Board and staff have been fine tuning the process throughout the year and if members have specific suggestions on how to streamline the process, to please send them to him.

 

            Member McDuffie said that we need to explain to applicants that “retail projects” are not eligible.

 

            Chairman Colucci responded that the pre-application process should address this concern.

 

            A motion to adjourn the meeting, made by member Elsenbeck and seconded by member Wojtaszek, was entertained by the Chairman and unanimously adopted.

 

           

 



[1] Pursuant to the Public Employee Ethics Reform Act of 2007, all powers, duties, functions and staff of the State Ethics Commission were transferred to the New York State Commission on Public Integrity, currently the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics. 

 

[2] This Policy is in additional to any requirements that are imposed on WNYPPAB and its members pursuant to law or regulation and is not intended to limit or otherwise affect such requirements.

[3] The Public Officers Law contains penalties for violations of the Code of Ethics which are substantiated by the Commission.