In Support of Seneca Meadows

Press Release from the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce:The Seneca County Chamber of Commerce works to create an environment conducive to business prosperity and growth. A vibrant and diverse business base provides jobs, tax revenue and opportunities for citizens and communities. With New York ranking among the least business-friendly states in the nation, sustainability for Upstate employers has been no small challenge. Supporting local businesses of all sizes is critical to helping offset taxes and burdensome regulations. For retailers and service organizations, support is as simple (yet overlooked) as local patronage. Large employers appreciate a spirit of partnership from their community in addressing issues. In an environment of constant challenges, support from the community is often the determining factor in retaining businesses and sends a strong message in attempting to attract new business to an area.Among Seneca County’s largest private employers, Seneca Meadows, Inc. has provided an essential service in the region since 1983. Their conscientious business practices have been recognized through continuous operations and expansion of the services they provide. As a responsible community partner, the company contributes significantly to the local economy through its operations and charitable support. The Chamber, as well as many other organizations and residents, have previously expressed their appreciation to Seneca Meadows for their role in the community. The company was recognized as Business of the Year in 2003, and also received a Congressional Proclamation recognizing them as a driving force in the local economy and praising their environmental leadership. Through its normal operations, Seneca Meadows employs over 160 people. The direct annual benefit to local communities in payroll, host community fees, taxes, and local vendor payments is over $20 million. The host community payment to the Town of Seneca Falls of over $2.5 million annually has contributed to quality of life improvements including a community center, library, and infrastructure improvements, without the burden of a town tax. Also among these benefits is over $368,000 in contributions to various charitable organizations and non-profit groups last year. Voluntary giving is a hallmark of responsible, community-minded businesses large and small. The strained economy has resulted in a great demand for social services and additional community resources, with less revenue coming from government to support programs. Business support provides critical resources in many areas while easing the burden on taxpayers. In the interest of full disclosure, Seneca Meadows is also an active member of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce, which is another example of the company’s commitment to building a stronger community and improving quality of life.Any development brings change to a landscape. New housing requires upgrades to water and sewer infrastructure. Expanding retail necessitates changes to roadways and traffic patterns. Growth in tourism brings increased congestion to those roads, stores and restaurants at certain times. Seneca Meadows has worked to minimize and offset the impacts of its success. The utilization of the landfill gas to generate electricity reduces greenhouse gas emissions and conserves non-renewable resources such as coal and oil. This benefit will extend well beyond the eventual closing of the landfill, providing gas production for an average of 30 more years. The company is also working to bring the excess gas into Seneca Falls to lower costs for the school district and ITT, another major employer in Seneca County.The company’s tire recycling facility processes two million tires a year for use in landfill construction. Waste tire piles pose a threat to the health and safety of citizens across the country. While the Seneca Meadows’ facility helps to reduce that trend, use of the tire chips conserves natural aggregate.In addition to its strong working relationship with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Seneca Meadows demonstrates its concern for responsible environmental stewardship through the development of their Environmental Education Center and Educational and Recreational Wetlands Complex. The Education Center is a certified Gold Level green building and has hosted many educational programs for students and the general public since opening in 2008. The 576 acre Wetlands Complex includes nature trails, observation stations and a visitor’s center. In partnership with the National Audubon Society, Seneca Meadows expects the complex to become a popular recreational and educational spot for local residents and tourists. A vibrant economy depends upon a diverse business base, and openness to responsible development. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Seneca County’s population declined from a high of 35,083 in 1970 to 33,342 in 2000, as major employers closed or relocated. Local communities have long felt the impacts of those losses. Reduced tax and wage bases have resulted in higher property taxes and aging infrastructure. The region’s natural resources have contributed to the growth of another industry in tourism, and protecting these resources should remain a focus. Among New York’s many regulations are stringent environmental controls. While residents have a responsibility to keep a watchful eye on government, they should also acknowledge that there are well-defined systems in place to prevent mistreatment of our environment. As we struggle to revitalize our economy, residents should also recognize the businesses that continue to invest in the area in a responsible manner, and extend consideration in working collaboratively toward stronger communities.

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