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FDRLO: outlook is positive

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FORT DRUM — The need for more housing to accommodate Fort Drum soldiers and their families is imminent, but the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization committee is confident the north country will meet the need.

“I got to tell you, it isn’t what it appears to be in the news right now,” said Carl A. McLaughlin, executive director of FDRLO.

There is a deficit of 1,035 housing units, which gave FDRLO and other north country agencies a target to develop housing projects to fill the need. Among other initiatives, Fort Drum-related organizations are supporting a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the 305-unit Beaver Meadow Apartments, planned by COR Development Co., Fayetteville.

“We’re going through the process of getting all the financial pieces together and the last financial piece is that PILOT agreement,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “To show you how committed we are, tomorrow, DANC (Development Authority of the North Country) is going to put before its board a resolution to approve $7 million in construction loans. We believe that we are ready to go, so we’re ready to put out construction money. It is a positive news story.”

During the FDRLO meeting Thursday at Hays Hall, members also announced plans to launch an awareness campaign.

Thomas A. Carman, secretary of the organization, will form a committee to help promote the importance of Fort Drum in the community.

“This is just a real opportunity for us to increase the awareness of the importance of Fort Drum, what Fort Drum brings to our community, the advantages of having Fort Drum here in Jefferson County,” he said. “I also think there is an opportunity for us to create awareness for soldiers and families about the great things that go on in the north country as well. It really works both ways.”

Treasurer Mary M. Corriveau also said the organization will need to come up with ways to continue to fund itself. During the presentation of the 2012 budget, Mrs. Corriveau said revenue is down while expenses are still increasing.

“I want to point out to everyone, that $324,645 is the difference between the rest of our income and what our expenses are going to be for the upcoming year,” she said. “Year to date we are $65,000 in the hole and we are now appropriating another $324,000 going forward for the 2012 calendar year. When you look at 2013, unless we get an influx of dollars there is not going to be enough retained earnings in this organization to fund it. We will need to be focusing on how we are going to fund the organization.”

Mr. Carman said FDRLO is looking for members of the general public who wish to join the awareness campaign. Interested people can contact the FDRLO office at 836-5136.

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