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April 13, 2009 - 7:41am

Today's Poll: Should the city seek state funding for Masse Gateway Project?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls, Masse Gateway Project.
Charlie Mallow
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Did you ever wonder why Batavia’s economy is so depressed? We lack shovel ready land and the will to salvage our last bit of unused industrial land. The answer is not to let a huge area in the middle of the city disintegrate.
Peter O'Brien
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No, the answer is to remove corporate taxes. Let people keep more of what they earn, and then they will be interested in developing land without subsidies.
Charlie Mallow
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You’re talking about a whole scale national change, that we in Batavia have no say in. We can only work within the system that we have. Its fine to take an ideological stand but, that doesn’t help us right here, right now.
Richard Gahagan
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The real answer is that most of the larger industrial businesses left western New York a long time ago. The area is depressed because major corportations do not want be in New York, could it be taxes dare hey? Why should the government fund a large scale business project in an area that has been dying a slow economic death my entire life. Should the entire areas economy be solely dependent on government funding and everyone working for the government?
Mark Potwora
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Look at Buffalo,were all the steel mills were tore down...Industrial land now open for develoment.No one is going there.Why would they come here to Batavia..
Charlie Mallow
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Richard you’re getting no argument from me but, we still do live here and we can’t just give up. We will all grow old waiting for Albany to change. Mark, take a good look around us, the area is growing. Just not here in the city because, there is no where to build. I don’t see why we wouldn’t try to work within the system we now live in and just do the best we can with what we have. The only other option is to just move away. Let’s face it, that just is not choice most of us are going to make.
Howard B. Owens
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I've no patience for defeatist attitudes. To do nothing is a sure way of ensuring continued decline and decay. It's no secret I hate taxes and big government, but if the money doesn't come back to Batavia, it's just going to go else where. This isn't like the Mall where viable business are being torn down in favor of some wishy-washy notion of "progress." It is probably unrealistic to expect businesses from out of state to relocate to WNY, but it's not unrealistic to expect to create an environment where ambitious local entrepreneurs can find a place to grow and thrive. And that's probably the weakest part of this proposal -- using the revolving loan fund to help this project lessens opportunity for entrepreneurs just when it's needed most.
Peter O'Brien
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Well, good. Can I get some money from the government to start my business? My business will create one job but provide services for many. Let me guess creating one job isn't enough to justify getting tax payer money. If that is the case, then how many is the right number? 5, 10, 1000? If more people take a stand and get on politicians backs about handouts at every level, the government will finally be in the black and then we can demand money back in our pockets. What happened to the American Entrepreneurial Spirit that wanted to owe no one anything when it came to their business so they could keep all that they made? It's been nibbled away by years of entitlements and handouts and "He got this, why can't I" fairness attitude. Fairness comes from equal opportunity to achieve, not results and until our country and state switch direction on this expect more handouts, more dependency and more taxes.
Charlie Mallow
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Of course you can get some money to start your own business. Every layer of government offers loans and grants; even the city offers small business loans. You need to have a business plan and be able to project out job creation in most cases. Some collateral doesn’t hurt either. Just because we don’t like the system doesn’t mean we don’t have to live within it. I truly understand this ideology in a time of outright socialism and bailouts to the richest few. I don’t much like the idea of corporate welfare myself but, that is how business is done in this country and has been done for years. We either use our share of this state grant money or some other community will. Not taking our share doesn’t mean the money won’t be spent.
Laura Russell Ricci
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I believe that we should support our small businesses as well. Part of Batavia's problem is we are always looking back and not forward to where we are headed. Yeah Batavia and all of WNY are known as the Rust Belt, but there is no reason why we can't rally as citizens and change our perpective. Our community needs to INVEST in ourselves, with or without money from the State or Feds. I've always wanted to open a Bed and Breakfast in Batavia, and I'm asked, why would anyone travel to stay here? What are we doing as a city/community to bring people here?
Mark Potwora
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Charlie, If the city doesn't own this property ,why doesn't the property owner do this with one of those business loans you are talking about.If this is such a winning situation to attract new companies for Mr.Mancuso to rent to..Why does the city have apply for this,Why not Mr.Mancuso
Charlie Mallow
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Mark, This project is for building a road and demolishing a building to do it. Does it really matter who owns the property? Shouldn’t the city do what it needs to do to attract business and make use of dilapidated property? If we can raise the value of an industrial property from $800,000 to anywhere between $3-$5 Million dollars and thereby easing the tax burden on home owners, shouldn’t we? Instead of continually talking about doing something to spur business in the city, shouldn’t we act? How many more years should we wait? We have tried doing NOTHING with that property for decades and that plan failed. What do we do now?
Richard Gahagan
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So can the city, state and feds run around knockin privately owned buildings down whenever they feel like it? Or is this just a service the government will now provide to property owners of big old nasty buildings that no one likes to look at anymore? If anything the government should pay to knock the the stinking mall that government money built after the government paid to knock down the city. Ah the hell with it knock the whole freakin place down and get outta there. Then the government can fund building cool stuff everwhere else.
Charlie Mallow
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Thanks Richard, so much for this conversation being fruitful. Yes, let’s knock down the city and then we can all move to Texas with you. Do you have a spare room we can all use till we get settled in?
Richard Gahagan
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The cow girls got all my rooms taken but maybe my bro Jerry would let all y'all hang here till ya get setteld. http://stadium.dallascowboys.com/
Gabor Deutsch
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I am all for expansion not contraction. I would like to see medium to large business growth come out of it. Sure we have small businesses poping up all the time but some of them pop out before many people even realized they were there !
Mark Potwora
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Charlie..do we have any studies to back the fact up that Mr.Mancuso's assessment will go up and he will pay more in taxes..If that is fact then go for it...
Howard B. Owens
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Mark, are you going to be at the meeting tonight, or the public hearing on the 22nd? You raise good questions that should be asked in such a venue.
Richard Gahagan
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Can the government fund the demolition of private property?
Charlie Mallow
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Mark, that is in the documentation and I will make sure of it before we go forward. Also, keep in mind this vote tonight is to set a public hearing. Questions at that hearing are welcome.
John Roach
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Federal and State stimulus money is already out there and there is nothing we can do about it, period. State and Federal tax policies that drive business out of NY and overseas are beyond our control here in Batavia. If we can get some of the stimulus money, fine. At least we get something for the future debt we have to pay off. But we do not have any City money to spare. We have to put in thousands of city tax dollars for this grant, that we probably will never see back. And, we will have to borrow that money or raise property taxes just to get the money to give it away. In addition to our City property tax money being given as a grant, our revolving loan fund for business will have to give up almost 50% of the fund balance for this. We are being asked to give loan money as a grant, why? Why not demand it be paid back with a set interest rate, with a set time limit and with a lien attached to the money? This is a private business asking for my money and I don’t want to give away my money. The City is just starting to get out of debt after making a lot of bad decisions, and here we go again. Let the owners put there business up as security for this, it’s their property.
Mike Del Plato
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In the End,Mr.Thomas Mancuso gets his properties spruced up.And if he gets any tennants?He'll fill his pockets with rent money.It's a win-win situation for him.And maybe for the city,I'm not sure?If we build it will they,the businesses come?Hello,hello.Hello,hello. Will it take down these "For Sale"signs in our city? Look at beautiful Dwyer Stadium,we can't even fill that up and were paying for that. Look,It's not just Batavia,Genesee county and New York.It's the whole counrty! Free trade! ,it"s destroying us! Till America wakes up,it's not going to matter.So if you tear it down and rebuild, you're not going to fill it.
Howard B. Owens
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Actually, you do see Buffalo and Rochester spending tax money to aid private businesses. I don't follow the issues in those cities closely, but there's something about a sporting goods store in Buffalo and a couple of projects in Rochester that have gotten some scrutiny. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find any city in America that isn't using some sort of state or federal money for restoration and redevelopment projects, all in the name of creating jobs and improving the tax base. In fact,businesses leaving New York isn't just a matter of NY's high taxes, historically, it's states like North Carolina and Tennessee offering huge tax breaks to businesses that relocate. A friend was recently telling me about a WNY business that years ago got big tax breaks to relocate to New Jersey, and then within a year it was out of business (all the long-time employees who really knew how to take care of things didn't relocate, and the young kids hired couldn't do the job). I'm not really a fan of higher taxes that pay for all of these business improvements (lower taxes would have greater benefits), but so long as the system is as it is, and the money will get spent elsewhere if it isn't spent here, I can't really fault the local leaders for taking a stab at these grants. They didn't create the system and they can't change it. Until taxes are lowered and NY becomes a more business friendly state, programs like this at least offer some relief to municipalities looking to improve the situation. One last thought: I've covered a lot of these government funded programs over the years. The ones that I've seen work try to make the best of structures already in place, and don't purposely dislocate existing businesses. The worst of them -- and Batavia's mall is a good example -- tear down existing businesses and try to bring in new, outside businesses. That never works out. Ever. In the Masse project, the buildings are mostly (completely?) vacant, and the only demolition taking place is to create better access from Main St. The project makes some sense. Only time will tell if it really works out.
Mike Del Plato
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Hey Howie, For your info,in Buffalo there tearing down the old Aud.And it's own by the city, it's not privately owned.Nothing going on in Rochester either. You stated better access from Main St.? What's wrong with Swan St. and Harvester Ave.eh?
Mike Del Plato
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Hey Howie, For your info,in Buffalo there tearing down the old Aud.And it's own by the city, it's not privately owned.Nothing going on in Rochester either.
Mark Potwora
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Better watch it Mike...Howard might claim all you want to do is Bitch and that you should go out and start your own business..You are so right..What is wrong with Swan and Harvester..Why do we need more access from Main St..
C D
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Or no one is going to take either of you seriously. I know I don't. I know I'm not the only one that feels this way either.
Beth Kinsley
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Rochester is definitely involved in aiding private businesses as evidenced by the Midtown Rochester Rising project which is a "public/private partnership to bring PAETEC's world headquarters to heart of downtown Rochester, N.Y.". http://midtownrochesterrising.com/mayor/midtownrising/index.cfm
Mike Del Plato
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Hey Beth, For your info.,I don't know if you were watching the the news back in Jan.Where PAETEC's stocks were falling.And they were having second thoughts about the Mid-town project.And those are businesses already there. And what happens to some businesses in the B.I.C that are told that their rent is going up,When they move it to the newly rebuild B.I.C?Lay off or cut there employees wages or pack up and leave?
Beth Kinsley
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I was watching the news Mike and am very well aware of what is happening at Midtown. My office looks directly at Midtown and I parked there for years until we all had to find other parking so that this project could move forward. My inconvenience is nothing compared to the businesses, a few of them thriving, that had to move out. I know that PAETEC has scaled down their plans due to the economy but hopefully, in the end, this will be a good thing for downtown.
Howard B. Owens
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See, I just have a real problem with forcing businesses to move. I've never seen that work out, either for the redevelopment project or for the businesses force to relocate ... obviously some of them survive, but not many. I'm not a fan of eminent domain or other methods of essentially forcing private property owners to give up what should remain theirs.
Beth Kinsley
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Agreed Howard but I think in this case, the owner was more than willing to get rid of it. It had been struggling for years along with the rest of downtown.
Mike Del Plato
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First I thought Mancuso was getting $700,000. Now it's 2.5 million? Where's that $700,000 going? In his pocket? really. Maybe we should of thought of this years ago. We could've had Home Depot or BJ's on Mancusos' property.At least we knew they were coming in to Batavia. F.Y.I Chris,This whole things a JOKE! It's a bit too late,Batavias'behind the times!

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