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CIDC committee to review findings by state agency

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CARTHAGE — In response to a recent review by the state Authorities Budget Office, the Carthage Industrial Development Corp. has formed an LDC committee to review the office’s findings.

The review was part of a statewide initiative to look at selected local development corporations to determine for what purposes each was formed, how they function and the types of activities they perform.

The study said the CIDC was formed in 1998 to take ownership of a hydroelectric facility on West End Avenue. Funds generated by the facility and other sources are used for a variety of economic activities, including loans.

However, the audit found the CIDC may be operating outside its planned purposes because it manages residential housing and funds some local government operations. For example, the agency has been involved with the redevelopment of the upper levels of State Street buildings for affordable housing apartments. The CIDC also provided $350,000 to the village of Carthage that included $250,000 to re-establish its community development director position.

The study concluded that the greater Carthage area has become dependent on the CIDC as a source of financing even if the projects don’t relate to the agency’s core mission.

According to its mission statement, the CIDC was formed “to relieve and reduce unemployment, to promote and provide for additional and maximum employment, to better and to maintain job opportunities, to carry on scientific research for the purpose of aiding a community or geographical area by attracting industry to the community or area or by encouraging the development of, or retention of, an industry in the community or area to lessen the burdens of government and to act in the public interest.”

The study states the corporation should not be involved with “managing residential housing units nor funding the general operations of local governments.”

CIDC board member James W. Wright pointed out the audit is only an opinion and had “no specific recommendation.” He suggested a committee be formed to review the report in detail since there are “lessons to be learned.” He also suggested a lawyer should be consulted to make sure the CIDC is following the laws concerning incorporation.

Once the LCD committee studies the review, it will institute a corrective action plan.

The core of the LDC committee will be the standing Audit/Finance/Governance Committee, consisting of Bruce D. Armstrong, Terrence L. Roche and G. Wayne McIlroy, along with Mr. Wright, John F. McHugh, David J. Zembiec and attorney Stephen W. Gebo.

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