Mayor Stephanie Miner speaks in Seneca Falls

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has a reputation.She has built a legacy on advocating for the right kind of economic development, and pushing back against those from outside her region — who try to dictate the direction her community moves forward.Her list of accomplishments includes being the first woman elected to the mayor’s office in Syracuse, which has historically been seen as one New York’s big five.While things have changed in Syracuse and throughout the state — she remains equally optimistic and forceful on the matter of economic development. On Wednesday evening, Miner appeared in Seneca Falls to talk about economic development in the region. Specifically, she spoke to the Concerned Citizens of Seneca County about the tax breaks and incentives that Industrial Development Agencies hand out to real estate developers.Miner refers to herself as an “aficionado of data,” and it’s clear when she speaks that data is brought to the table every time. A few dozen gathered at the Seneca Falls Community Center to gain some insight from an individual who has seen her share of battles with real estate developers. She spoke for roughly 30 minutes, discussing some of her ideas — and then the forum was opened up for those in attendance to ask her questions. One of the themes she came back to repeatedly during the hour-long event was the idea of expectation vs. reality. The problem highlighted by actual results falling shy of what was promised when developers seek out these beneficial packages, which result in fewer tax dollars for the host community.It’s an unfortunate common practice, Miner explained. New York State needs “open, honest, data driven decisions” being made. Seneca Falls Supervisor Stephen Churchill pressed Miner on her stance regarding Industrial Development Agencies, which she responded by pointing out that they “need to be re-tooled.” She went on to point out that eliminating them — as some have talked about — wouldn’t be the best answer for most localities.Miner also advocated for more involvement in the political system. “Democracy needs crisis to move,” she explained. “If you want to change the system — be a part of the system,” she concluded. Much scrutiny in Seneca County has been raised over the viability and success rate of the County’s Industrial Development Agency. Reports over the last several years show that a number of jobs have been lost — while few have actually been gained through the number of incentives and tax breaks that have been handed out.Check out Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner speaking to those in attendance in the video above.

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