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Money worries and solar dreams

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Dave Olsen
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Curl up and read up on New York's latest. It's cold outside.

PAETEC settles down

Telecommunications firm, PAETEC has reached an agreement with the City of Rochester to locate its corporate headquarters downtown. The Rochester Business Journal summarized the major investments pledged by both parties to make a deal:

Under the agreement signed Tuesday, Paetec will construct a new building, obtain $34 million in loans, use $5 million of its own equity and occupy the facility for 20 years. In that time it will generate tax revenue of $22 million city officials said. The city will provide the land and some superstructure, and also arrange for Paetec to receive a federal loan for $16.5 million.

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer of the Downtown Development Corp. told WHEC in Rochester that PAETEC's move is bringing other companies downtown along with it.

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer says development in the city has been like a donut. There's been a gaping hole in the middle. PAETEC starts to fill that in.

Deputy Mayor Tom Richards told our own Zack Seward:

This will be a different downtown. It won't be the downtown I grew up in, but it can be a good downtown. It just will be different.

Construction central

The Central New York Business Journal reports new statistics out from the Department of Labor show construction in Central New York is holding steady. A little bit of growth in Syracuse has countered some big losses for Rome and Utica, which lost 8 percent of their construction jobs. Binghamton: no change. Employment in construction has gone up statewide - by 1 percent.

Lighting the way ahead

The Business Journal also listened in on the 2011 goals of New York State's solar consortium. The Journal reports the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) has its eye on some big, incentive-driven growth. Association President Ron Kamen highlighted: 

[T]he establishment of a fully funded program to install 5,000 megawatts of solar capacity by 2025 and building support for generating 2,000 megawatts of solar thermal as a replacement for oil and natural gas by 2020. The group is also aiming to ensure the success of New York's first solar-thermal incentive program, which will provide $25 million over five years to encourage the installation of systems to heat water using solar energy.

He also group's support for the New York Solar Jobs Act, which would hold power authorities and utilities to increasing their intake of solar energy. A second failure of that legislation, Becky Stuart warned in PV Magazine last week, and New York could fall behind New Jersey in the development of its solar industry. No better way to energize New Yorkers.

Municipal money worries

It's nearing that budget time of the year again. The Hornell Evening Tribune writes that local governments are watching Albany closely for clues to next year's state funding. Mayor Shawn Hogan told the paper:

“I just hope the governor and his staff realize local governments — for the most part — have been efficient ... There’s no more meat on the bone. There’s not a lot of waste.”

Hornell's taxes haven't risen in four years, despite previous declines in state funding.

West Valley cleanup 

And in case you missed it, the Trail's own Daniel Robison was on All Things Considered earlier this week to deliver an update on the decades-long cleanup of nuclear waste in West Valley finally nearing completion. Innovation, you ask? Well scientists have learned a lot about clean-up methods from the site. The latest effort, a giant water filter being buried underground between the site and Lake Erie is an entirely new approach to handling radioactive waste.  Not fun for the neighbors, though.

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