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July 23, 2014
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Food hub discussed

Denise Frangipane of Sullivan Renaissance explains the Proud to be Sullivan campaign, which was a response to negative sentiments about the county that sometimes make their way onto the Internet and social media.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
May 7, 2014

MONTICELLO, NY — The Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) figured prominently in discussions about the proposed food hub at a meeting at the government center on May 1.

The location of the food hub, which has not yet been determined, was a topic of discussion. However, a lot at an industrial park in Glen Wild had been considered as a possible site.

Legislator Cindy Gieger asked Jennifer Brylinski, the executive director of the IDA, if the organization was open to having a discussion on an alternative location, possibly Sullivan County Community College.

Brylinski said she would make sure the operator was aware of the college location.

Legislator Ira Steingart, who is also chair of the IDA, said, “The thing that needs to be understood is that we’re not determining the site, the operator is. It’s not the legislature; it’s not the IDA.”

Geiger said, “What I’m looking for is consideration to convene a meeting with some of the stakeholders, because [Ginsberg Food Company] could be shown the site at the college.”

Steingart noted that Ginsberg, which will operate the food hub, has already been shown 30 sites and said they will see more.

Referring to the fact that the legislature tabled a vote on whether to give money to the project, Legislator Kathy LaBuda said, “We voted not to give them $100,000. I don’t know why we’re involved at all.”

After a bit more back and forth about the subject Gieger said, “If the county works with the agricultural community, why would that piece not be provided, to vet it with the farming community?”

Steingart said the agricultural community would be included. He said, “There’s $89,000 that will be used to do analysis and help this project…. That will be part of doing research with the ag community.”

Legislator Kitty Vetter asked why the lawmakers could not know the properties that the operator had already looked at.

Steingart said that could have adverse impacts, for instance, on the asking price of a particular parcel. He further said, “Not all information generated by the IDA is public because of the fact that negotiations are involved. That’s why there is an IDA, an agency that has different regulations created by the state that allows businesses to be developed without a competitive edge being disclosed.”