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December 05, 2016
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How much is enough?

Whether you believe, as I do, that the Concord is an important project, it’s difficult to ignore some similarities it shares with what many people consider the poster child for public assistance abuse, the Millennium Pipeline project. Millennium was well funded just as EPR/Empire is reported to be. Considering Millennium’s history and business objectives and that practical site alternatives were virtually zero, it wasn’t rational to conclude Millennium wouldn’t proceed without receiving every nickel it requested from our county. Something similar can be said for the Concord. And like Millennium, EPR/Empire could ultimately issue the same veiled threat by refusing to proceed unless it does get everything it wants. That doesn’t mean we can’t arrive at an amicable arrangement. It means their foremost responsibility is to cut the best deal they can for their shareholders, not for Sullivan County. Establishing whether giving them everything they want is necessary for them to proceed is important, because it elevates our county’s negotiating position. It isn’t adversarial; it’s smarter business.

Wish lists don’t establish need and neither does eligibility. That NYS doesn’t require our IDA to make those distinctions doesn’t prevent them from doing so. Our IDA knows this and so does every member of our legislature.

[Dave Colavito is a resident of Rock Hill, NY]