Following a dust-up over whether the city’s economic development staff has been evicted from the office it shared with the county’s economic development staff last month, Mayor Stephanie Miner said in a letter Oct. 19 that the city would move out of the office by the end of the month.
“Our decision to co-locate the Syracuse Economic Development Office with the Office of the Onondaga Civic Development Corporation was based on the belief we shared a similar philosophy about what constitutes effective economic development,” Mayor Miner stated. “Though we can point to a number of successful collaborations over the years, it has become apparent our core views have diverged significantly.”
Miner said the county has decided to pursue an “any development is good development,” strategy, and highlighted the county’s decision to grant tax breaks to developers COR Development Co. and Destiny USA for local projects, in spite of the city’s protests.
The county’s tax deal with COR “eliminated the city’s ability to negotiate job training and hiring requirements with the developer,” Miner stated. And, Destiny “failed to deliver on their promised 39-story, 1,342-room, LEED platinum hotel,” she said.
“Now, despite our objections, taxpayers will once again support another Destiny hotel,” Miner stated.
The mayor and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney had reportedly agreed to have their economic development staffs share an office in 2011, in order to streamline local economic development efforts.
However, due to the city and county’s deteriorating relationship, Miner said the city’s staff would leave the shared office, and return to city hall by Oct. 31.
“The people of the city of Syracuse deserve more than development through desperation,” the mayor stated. “As a city with one of the highest rates of concentrated poverty in the United States, we need to focus our efforts on projects that can alleviate the pernicious effects of poverty, creating meaningful jobs and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. In light of these philosophic differences on economic development, it is best for our economic development staff to be located alongside our neighborhood development team so they can work collaboratively to solve the economic challenges faced by city residents. As a result, our staff will vacate the shared offices and return to City Hall by October 31, 2016.”
Reportedly, Mahoney has said she plans to respond to the letter.