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St. Lawrence County IDA approves budget

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CANTON — The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency approved a budget Thursday that includes the full amount of its contract with the county despite a proposal that cuts its funding by 10 percent.

The IDA is entering the third year of its contract to provide comprehensive economic development for the county. The contract incrementally increased the IDA with funding of $375,000, $425,000 and $475,000 in each successive year.

County Administrator Karen M. St. Hilaire proposed agencies that the county contracts with for services it would otherwise do itself receive a 10 percent funding reduction for next year to keep a projected 20 percent tax levy increase from being worse. Those agencies were the IDA, Cornell Cooperative Extension, county Soil & Water and the county Chamber of Commerce.

In the IDA’s case, the cut would amount to $42,500, 10 percent of this year’s contract amount.

When it adopted its budget for the coming year Thursday, the IDA plugged in the contract number.

“That’s what we put in as a figure,” Executive Director Patrick J. Kelly said. “We’re aware of the economic realities. We’ll let the legislative budget process determine where we wind up.”

The county’s contract with the IDA includes a clause that the amount the agency is paid is based on appropriations, County Attorney Michael C. Crowe recently told legislators.

Mr. Kelly declined comment on whether that means the county can change the amount it agreed to pay.

“If we wind up with a different amount, we’ll address the issue then,” he said.

The IDA and the other contract agencies, along with the county Historical Association, is scheduled to meet with legislators in a budget review session Tuesday.

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