Fulton County, N.Y., should reassess how it implements economic development policy through its Industrial Development Agency, the New York State Authorities Budget Office said in a report last week.
The ABO is the office that oversees state and local public authorities.
The county’s IDA functions as a financing agency and is not involved in setting economic development policy. Rather, the county relies on the quasi-public nonprofit Fulton County Economic Development Corp. and its real estate affiliate, the Crossroads Incubator Corp.
“These agencies often act in their own self-interest to the financial detriment of the IDA and local taxing jurisdictions,” the ABO said in a news release. In the report, the ABO said that the Fulton County EDC had apparently acted at times to generate revenue for itself rather than focus on long-term job creation.
The IDA has overpaid the contractual fees it pays to the FCEDC for professional economic development services by $68,000, according to the report.
The Fulton County IDA’s job-creation efforts have been lackluster in recent years in comparison to neighboring counties, the report said. The county’s multi-agency approach was developed in the 1980s.
“The effectiveness of the Fulton County economic development model appears to have diminished over time and may no longer serve the interests of the county or businesses outside the industrial and business parks,” the report said.
“The county should reassess its reliance on the FCEDC, given the FCEDC’s lack of transparency and public accountability.”