Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature

Democrats Oppose Rush to Purchase Kodak Property

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Rochester, New York – February 12, 2013.  Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature voted against legislation to purchase property from Kodak for the Monroe Community College downtown campus. Democrats sought to delay the vote for a few months so that questions about state funding, utilities and other items could be answered before committing taxpayers to purchase a $3 million building.

Democratic Leader Carrie M. Andrews (D-Rochester) said, “We want nothing more than to see MCC succeed. As County Legislators, we also have a responsibility to ensure local taxpayer dollars are protected. Before voting to approve this purchase, we need to see that the state has contributed its share of $36 million for this project. The State Legislature still has to vote to approve $24 million of that funding and given the state’s fiscal challenges, we need to make sure we’re not purchasing a building without the funding to renovate it.”

Democrats also questioned certain aspects of the utility arrangement, which could result in MCC purchasing a heating plant and becoming a utility regulated by the New York State Public Service Commission. MCC could be responsible for providing heat to Kodak Tower, an arrangement that could require approval from Rochester City Council.

Assistant Democratic Leader Cindy Kaleh (D-Rochester) said, “MCC is staying in the Sibley Building for the next five years. There’s no reason why we couldn’t vote on the purchase of the Kodak site in a few months. We’re talking about a $72 million project here. We need to make sure our questions are answered before moving forward, but I’m afraid tonight this Legislature failed to do that.”

Finally, there are also questions about the latest proposal to renovate the Sibley Building, an option that could save taxpayers $18 million. Democrats felt that proposal should have been evaluated prior to making a final vote.