Metroplex seeking $25M bond increase

Chair of the Legislature Susan E. Savage, D-Niskayuna, championed the work of Gillen, who she appointed in 2004.

"There's a major difference between Metroplex pre-Ray Gillen and post-Ray Gillen," she said. "He changed the types of loans and grants coming into the county and he also changed the course of Metroplex taking it beyond the downtown area to our municipalities."

Savage said she credits Gillen with helping to generate $300 million in investment. She said about 3,000 jobs have been created since the establishment of Metroplex.

Twenty-four people spoke in favor of the resolution, many of them business owners or developers who have benefited from Metroplex's assistance.

David Buicko, an executive at Galesi, one of the area's largest developers, has lived in the county since 1969. He said that before the advent of Metroplex, developers were never aware of certain state aid programs such as Brownfield grants and Empire Zones. He also said that Metroplex comes to the aid of both large property owners, like himself, and smaller businesses.

"Metroplex levels the playing field," said Buicko.

Only two members of the public spoke against the measure.

Kevin March, of Rotterdam, advised the Legislature that it would be prudent to wait on a vote until the results of a pending state audit of Metroplex was made public. He also was concerned that increasing the bond cap would unfairly burden county taxpayers.

"A successful business should be bringing in more than it's giving out," said March. "The coffer should be full and Metroplex should be ready to give money away, not off the back of the taxpayer, but from businesses."

Gillen said that many Metroplex projects are not bonded, but financed out of direct sales tax proceeds, especially in the county's municipalities.

Metroplex is funded by one half of one percent of the county sales tax.

It can design, plan, finance, site, construct, administer, operate, manage, and maintain facilities within its service district, often partnering with the county and the city of Schenectady on capital projects.""

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