Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / News / Economy / Uptick in COMIDA projects reported over last year

Uptick in COMIDA projects reported over last year

For the first time in three years, the total number of businesses receiving assistance through Monroe County-sponsored economic development programs rose in 2010.

County officials announced that they approved incentives for 121 local economic development projects over the past year. Those projects are expected to result in $583 million in new investment, the creation of 2,171 new jobs and the retention of 11,341 jobs in Monroe County, officials believe.

In comparison, for 2007, Monroe County approved 165 such projects; in 2008, 141 projects were approved; and in 2009, 88 projects were approved, said Judy Seil, director of planning and development for Monroe County.

While the regional economy has still not returned to pre-recession levels, Seil believes that the uptick may mark signs of a turnaround. 

“I think there is an overall positiveness about the economy,” Seil said. “People seem more willing to take a chance to expand facilities or buy equipment.”

In a statement released earlier in the month, County Executive Maggie Brooks echoed those sentiments: “Over the past year, Monroe County saw a significant increase in its economic development totals as we emerge from the recession of the last couple of years and move forward down the road to recovery.

“These numbers signify a positive shift in our momentum and I remain wholeheartedly committed to continuing this trend into the New Year,” Brooks said.

Among the businesses aided by county programs was Australian-based manufacturer Studco. The firm, which has facilities in Webster, recently completed construction of a new 58,000 square foot building as part of a $5 million expansion.

Ben Stevens, business development manager for the company, said that while they have noticed a slight uptick within their industry, their decision to expand was driven largely by the incentives provided by the county, Rochester’s proximity to markets in Buffalo, Syracuse and New York City, and the expanded capacity offered at their new location.

“It’s nothing spectacular, but we have been noticing an (increase),” he said.

Jeff Christian, CEO of Columbia Analytical Services, said that the need for better and larger facilities was what drove their decision for a $2.8 million expansion into 23,564 square feet in Henrietta. The contract analytical laboratory firm is based in Washington and plans to add  to add 10 new jobs to their current roster of 52. The company sought property tax abatement as well as a sales tax exemption on  purchases totaling $1,088,000 earlier this year.

“It was a pretty good year for us,” Christian said. “But it’s still very competitive. There are plenty of labs that are probably operating at a loss.”

Seil said she expects the rising number of economic development projects to continue into 2011.

County-sponsored economic development programs include the GreatRate and GreatRebate programs, EquiPlus, JobsPlus, Monroe Manufacturing Rewards program, SBA 504 loan program, and incentives offered through the County Of Monroe Industrial Development Agency.