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Report questions Chemung Economic Development groups

Credit Jeff Milner / flickr

A report from a New York State regulator calls into question the work of two Chemung County economic development groups. The state Authorities Budget Office (ABO) says that the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) did not properly monitor or follow up on projects to which it granted tax breaks.

Local IDA’s are charged with job creation and helping the local economy by giving tax incentives to businesses.

Chemung’s IDA subcontracts much of its administration to another agency - Southern Tier Economic Growth, or STEG. Four of seven members of the Chemung IDA board are also on the STEG board. The report found that neither group was properly monitoring approved projects.

David Kidera is the director of the ABO, which has oversight over public authorities. "The IDA is being held accountable here," he said, "but the work is being performed by a second entity and that entity is not being held to the same standard as the IDA because the contract with the IDA is a little bit too broad and vague."

In response, the IDA said the critiques were mainly about reporting practices, and promised to improve. George Miner is Executive Director of the Chemung County IDA and President of STEG. He said that he takes the audit seriously, but that the IDA-STEG relationship is successful. "The partnership between STEG and the IDA is critical to the success of economic development in Chemung County," he said.

The Authorities Budget Office says it will continue to look at the relationship between the Chemung IDA and STEG. 

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