The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) today delivered a presentation to the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT) on its progress, achievements and endorsed priority projects for the second round of the Regional Council competition. The presentation was a part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s statewide Regional Economic Development Council Progress Tour, where the Governor, joined by a team of state agency leaders and independent business experts and academics, conducted a firsthand review of the progress being made on last year’s strategic economic development plans and job-creating projects.

“Our Western New York Regional Economic Development Council has created a plan that is focused on a strategic, collaborative, creative and forward thinking approach,” said Satish K. Tripathi, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President of the University at Buffalo. “We are proud to welcome the Governor to Western New York today to learn more about the progress we are making as we work together to advance common priorities for change in our region.”

“The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council is proud to have Governor Cuomo join us today to learn about the progress we have made since being designated a best plan awardee,” said Howard A. Zemsky, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group. “All the projects we reviewed today are in response to the Governor’s challenge to chart a fresh course for sustained economic growth in New York State and were driven by our council’s strategy to create a more dynamic economy for our region and all its citizens.”

Following presentations from project leaders whose initiatives received Regional Council support and 2011 CFA funding last year, the WNYREDC provided a formal presentation to SIAT at Conference Center Niagara Falls where it outlined the progress it has made in advancing last year’s strategic plans and projects, as well as its endorsed projects for the coming year.

Based upon published guidelines (available in the 2012 Guidebook), SIAT will review and assess each region’s progress as it relates to their accomplishments in the following categories:

▪ Strategy updates;

▪ Implementing the strategic plan;

▪ Leveraging resources;

▪ Advancing priority projects;

▪ Measuring performance; and

▪ Engaging the public and involving stakeholders.

The Regional Council competition awards will be made based on the progress the Councils have made implementing their strategies and the evolution of their strategic plans including any revisions or updates.

Prior to the statewide progress tour, each Council submitted to the State on September 14, 2012, its one-year progress report, which provides detail on the Council’s achievements in implementing its five year strategic plan. The report includes a description of how the Council established a framework to advance the plan, an implementation agenda and a tracking of the advancement of priority job-creating projects awarded in 2011. Additionally, the WNYREDC provided the State with its list of the 24 priority projects the Council has endorsed for the second round of the Regional Council competition.

The Council’s progress report and full list of endorsed priority projects for 2012 can be found at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york.

In the first round of the Regional Council initiative, the Western New York region was awarded $100.3 million in state resources through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process to support 96 projects. Currently, 96 percent are moving forward. Once completed, the projects awarded funding in the Western New York region through the 2011 CFA will significantly boost the local economy by supporting the direct creation and retention of more than 8,470 jobs and leveraging more than $525 million in additional private sector and other investment.

In 2012, the WNYREDC endorsed 21 priority projects requesting $25.5 million in State capital investment and recommended three priority projects for $4.4 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. The projects collectively support direct creation and retention of more than 1,066 jobs with more than $207 million in total investment and move the region decisively closer to meeting dozens of specific strategy goals.

Last year, Governor Cuomo created Regional Councils and the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) to transform New York’s operating model for economic development from a top-down approach to a community-based model which empowers individual regions to develop and advance regionally-targeted strategic plans and job-creating projects. In support of this initiative, $785 million was awarded for economic and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. This year, the primary focus of the Regional Council initiative was to successfully implement and operationalize their strategic plans to make each region’s vision for economic growth a reality.

To build on the success of the first round, a second round of up to $762 million in state resources was launched in 2012. Funding for the second round includes $220 million ($150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits) to implement regional strategic plans and continue to advance priority job-creating projects, and up to $542 million from state agency programs through the CFA to support regionally-significant economic development projects.

The Regional Council competition will result in five best implementation awards, where regions will be awarded enhanced funding for priority projects based on the progress they have made in implementing last year’s strategic plans. While project funding will be awarded in all 10 regions through the second round of the CFA, the competition places emphasis on Regional Council performance and action to implement strategies.

The competition phase will be split in two parts:

▪ First, the four regions with the 2011 Best Plans will compete for two awards of up to $25 million each in capital funds.

▪ Second, the remaining six regions will compete for three awards of up to $25 million each in capital funds.

The balance of the $25 million in capital funds will be divided among the remaining regions. Each region will also be eligible for up to $10 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.

Funding awards for the second round of the CFA process will be announced later this year.

To view the WNYREDC presentation and learn more about its economic development plans, visit http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york.