By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Orleans County Legislature unanimously approved moved $50,000 to a Planning Department budget line to be used for economic development, although its exact use was described in vague, unspecific terms Wednesday.
The funding was proposed and tabled by the legislature in December, when the publicly discussed use for the funding was for environmental review at a Maple Ridge Road site eyed for development.
Legislature Chairman David Callard said Wednesday that the Keppler site, which the County of Orleans Economic Development Agency has an option to purchase, “is a possible site” for funding, but not the only one.
“There’s no specific deal,” said Callard, who added that there “are no parameters for its use as long it relates to economic development.”
The resolution to move the $50,000 from the county’s contingency fund was amended to be open to any corner of the county, but legislators stressed that that it would not be a hand-out to any business.
“The money is to prepare a site,” Legislator Don Allport said.
County Chief Administrative Officer Chuck Nesbitt noted the funding could also be used to contract with consultants for consolidated funding grant applications.
Callard, a member of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, said the county is “fine-tuning” its process for funding requests. Only six Orleans County-specific projects funded over the past two cycles.
“This might give us more expertise,” Callard said.
The legislature expressed a great desire to use the funds for new business, but with their final say it how it is used.
“(The Legislature) feels an obligation to the citizens of Orleans County to make investments in the future of this county in order to provide economic opportunities for our citizens and their families,” said Legislator Don Eick. “It’s not to be expended without the legislature’s consent.”
• Allport, a former President of the Arc of Orleans board, said Wednesday that the 35 people who were served by the recently-ended Continuing Day Treatment Program are now being served by either a larger program in Batavia or through Arc programs in Orleans County.
“The people that need the help are getting it,” Allport said.
The status of the program participants was brought up by Al Lofthouse of Kendall, who questioned if the program could be brought back in light of the recent high-profile crimes committed across the nation.
The county approved cutting the program in December after state funding for it was greatly reduced.