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COMIDA

Midtown Athletic Club is growing, and looked to Monroe County for taxpayer incentives as it expands. The county is supportive, saying that Midtown’s growth will result in new jobs and economic development.

Critics contend that most Monroe County residents can not afford a Midtown membership, and this is a case of the rich getting richer without much ripple effect. Our guests debate it:

Wilmorite

The owners of The Marketplace Mall are working with Monroe County to acquire the vacant Macy’s that is at that site.

The county’s economic development agency, Imagine Monroe, held a public hearing on the eminent domain proposal Monday in Henrietta. Eminent domain allows the government to take over private property for public use. In this case, Imagine Monroe plans to sell the property to Wilmorite, which owns the rest of the mall.

Wilmorite said it plans to use the land for a project that it said would be “transformative” for the shopping center.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo has named  Jeff Adair to be the Director of the county's planning and development department; he will also function as the county's chief economic development officer.

Dinolfo had announced earlier this year there would be a nationwide search for the position which will also include Adair acting as executive director for COMIDA, the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency.

Adair is a former president of the county legislature; The Republican was term limited and could not run for re-election last year.

Following County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo's Tuesday news conference, we invited leadership and legislators from both parties to join us to discuss what happens next with COMIDA.

We talk about how the COMIDA board should be filled, how tax dollars can be properly stewarded, and what questions are still unanswered. Our guests:

  • James Sheppard, Monroe County legislator (D, Rochester)
  • Mark Muoio, Monroe County legislator, (D, Rochester)
  • Anthony Daniele, president of the Monroe County Legislature (R, Brighton, East Rochester, Pittsford)

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo broke her silence Monday about the  sudden investigation of the I-Square project by COMIDA, the County of Monroe Industrial Agency just over a week ago on a Sunday evening.

The investigation took place days after Monroe County GOP Chairman Bill Reilich stated the project was struggling financially while making comments about departing Irondequoit Supervisor, and now County Clerk, Adam Bello.

We sit down with the Democrat & Chronicle's Meaghan McDermott, who produced a comprehensive look at the industrial development agency, and how it uses our tax dollars. We'll examine the biggest projects awarded money by COMIDA, along with a look at which kinds of projects are getting our money. Our guests:

Carly Morgan/Carlete Cleare / WXXI News

On Connections with Evan Dawson, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks defended the practice of county government using Local Development Corporations, or LDCs, to handle projects. An LDC is a not-for-profit private company, often created by the government to manage government projects. Four people, including Brooks' husband Bob Wiesner, are charged in a recent investigation into LDCs. The allegations include bid rigging and abuse of taxpayer dollars. 

Students Getting "Ready for Life"

May 15, 2012

Monroe County's Executive and the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency have donated funds to keep a job training program for students up and running. The program trains high school students for a career in construction.

17 year old Jose and nine other high school students are building a house off of Planet street in Rochester.

They're part of the Robert Brown School of Construction and they've been building this house from the ground up for the past two years.

Local Tax Breaks from COMIDA Criticized

Feb 21, 2012

Local labor and community groups are calling on the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency to cancel tax breaks for a local company.

COMIDA awarded Ward's Natural Science, a supplier of educational science materials, tax incentives in 2008 to expand their warehouse in Henrietta.

Since then, the company that owns Ward’s, VWR Education, recently shut down its plant in a Buffalo suburb, laying off 41 warehouse workers.