The state's economic development funding process has officially started.
The Regional Economic Development Councils process kicked off last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosting council co-chairs and local economic development officials in Albany to detail the third round of the process, and to officially launch the 2013 competition.
The economic development strategy was implemented for the first time in 2011. The plan created 10 regional councils, which were made up of area leaders who would determine which projects were the most vital for economic success. The councils then applied for state funding under a new consolidated funding formula, which made projects eligible for grant money and tax credits. The combined pool of funding totaled around $738 million for 2012.
The state program in 2012 awarded $52.8 million to 58 projects in Western New York to improve local infrastructure and create jobs. Specific to Chautauqua County, more than $1.475 million was allocated during the second year of the Regional Economic Development Council program. The combined pool of funding totaled around $738 million for 2012.
In 2011, it was reported Western New York received $100.3 million from the program. Chautauqua County received $5.2 million as a result of the first year's consolidated funding application. Statewide, $800 million was awarded in 2011.
"Over the past two years, the Regional Economic Development Councils have been a tremendous success, transforming our state's approach to job creating from a traditional Albany top-down model to a community-based, bottom-up process," Cuomo said. "From Niagara Falls, to Plattsburgh, to Long Island, the results are clear in communities all across the state as new projects are being launched, creating jobs and supporting local economic growth."
In 2013, the state program will award $760 million in state funding and tax incentives: $220 million - $150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits - for competition. The remaining $540 million will go toward state-supported programs through the consolidated funding application process.
All 10 regions will compete against each other. Five regions identified as ''top performers'' will receive $25 million each and the remaining will compete for the balance of $25 million. Each region is also eligible for up to $10 million in tax credits.
Regions designated as a "top performer" will be required to demonstrate implementation of the strategic plans; performance in encouraging economic growth through job creation and investment; and identification of transformative projects that support collaboration.
Application materials will be available by Monday. The consolidated funding application process will open to applicants on June 17 and submissions to the regional councils are due by Sept. 24.