The Westchester County Association, Building Contractors Association/Construction Industry Council, and Nonprofit Westchester Urge the County's Board of Legislators to 'Move Forward'
An LDC is Seen as Key to Economic Development and Opportunity in the County
Marissa Brett, executive director of The Blueprint for Westchester the Westchester County Association’s economic development initiative, announced today that the business, labor, and non-profit sectors have joind....
When approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators, LDCs would pour millions in construction funding into the economy.
...forces in support of a Local Development Corporation for Westchester County. The object, she said, is to give nonprofit organizations access to low interest, tax-exempt financing for major capital projects that the business sector often accesses through IDAs. Since 2008, the Industrial Development Agency for Westchester County no longer has had the legal authority to serve the nonprofit community. On Thursday, March 21, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) will continue their deliberations over the issue of creating an LDC; a vote is expected within the next five weeks.
“An LDC in this county will open doors for the nonprofit community – healthcare, education, cultural and human service organizations – to have access to the same low-interest financing opportunities that for profit organizations enjoy,” Brett said. “Most important, the existence of an LDC will help advance economic development in the county and create jobs in this difficult economic climate.” She said that the Westchester County Association, Building Contractors Association/Construction Industry Council, and Nonprofit Westchester have issued a joint statement in support of the LDC and sent it to the BOL. “We urge the BOL to Vote for Progress,” she said.
Pressure for the creation of a Westchester LDC grew after a provision of state law that permitted IDAs to issue tax-free bonds to nonprofit organizations expired in 2008. While their advantages are many, LDCs currently are not subject to the same oversight as other entities like IDAs that provide economic incentives to developers, which is why some members of the BOL have stressed the need for transparency and public scrutiny.
In recent years, many local governments in New York State have created LDCs, which exist outside of municipal law, to spur growth and jobs and help stimulate local revenue.
According to Brett, local labor will get a seat on the Westchester LDC, which also will encourage use of Project Labor Agreements by applicants. Ross Pepe, president of the Building Contractors Association/Construction Industry Council, noted enthusiastically that, “the LDC will create hundreds of millions in new building construction activity and nonprofit growth throughout Westchester County.”
Joanna Straub, executive director of Nonprofit Westchester, pointed out that with an LDC there is no financial risk to Westchester County, “as the county is not obtaining bonds based on its credit. Rather, a nonprofit organization will obtain the low-interest bonds based on its own credentials, and get to benefit from Westchester’s Triple A credit rating.”
In recent months, both the BCA/CIC and NPW joined with the Westchester County Association in pushing for the creation of the LDC. All believe that the LDC will accelerate large capital projects and capital investment in the county that had been languishing for lack of incentives and funding, and hampered by a sluggish economy.
“This is the tool that Westchester needs,” notes Brett. “Today, the business, nonprofit and labor sectors are joining forces to ensure that the legislation is passed. We’re demonstrating that the entire community is working together to ensure that the BOL gets this done. It will be a win-win for Westchester.”