The Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board today voted to recommend nearly $140,000 in funding to Cambria Asphalt Products Inc. and Buffalo Niagara Enterprise. The funding would pay for a portion of the costs associated with a business investment project and a workforce study. WNYPPAB's recommendation is expected to be considered by the New York Power Authority board of trustees at a future date.
"The Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board continues to recommend investments that support the growth of business in our region," Allocation Board Chairman Anthony J. Colucci III said. "The profitability of small manufacturing companies is strongly dependent on the efficiency of operations, which is why we are recommending funding to Cambria Asphalt Products, and the availability of current and local labor data is critical when responding to labor-related questions from prospective companies, which is why we are recommending funding to Buffalo Niagara Enterprise to conduct a workforce study."
Cambria Asphalt Products, which produces hot mix asphalt products for the Greater Niagara County area, was recommended for $72,750 in WNYPPAB funding toward its $606,000 project to install a new natural gas pipeline at its Lockport Junction Road facility. CAP currently uses high-cost, low-efficiency waste oil as a heating fuel to dry stone aggregate for producing hot mix asphalt. The new pipeline will permit the company to lower costs to produce hot mix asphalt, making CAP more price competitive; replace difficult-to-source waste oil with more abundant natural gas, which may reduce lost sales opportunities when waste oil supplies are low; and improve plant emissions.
"This project is critical to the long-term business sustainability of Cambria Asphalt Products," Cambria Asphalt Products President Tom Biamonte said. "It will reduce fuel costs, as well as minimize emissions, which will not just improve margins, assure reliable, good-paying jobs, but help us do our part in improving the environment. CAP is a locally owned and operated business that is dedicated to improving the local infrastructure and growing in the Niagara County area. Working close with local and state agencies has been helpful in the establishment of our business, as well as its success. We are very happy to be involved in and to be a part of our community."
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, a private, nonprofit, research, marketing, business and economic development organization that serves as the point of contact for business attraction and investment in the eight counties of the Buffalo/Niagara region, was recommended for $65,836 in WNYPPAB funding toward its $241,919 project to conduct a workforce study that will better position the region to meet the challenges of the future through a well-trained labor force.
BNE uses labor data in nearly every attraction project the organization manages. An updated labor market assessment will provide workforce development organizations an in-depth analysis of short and long-term job projections by target industry, the number of graduates the region's schools produce to fill these jobs, potential gaps that exist between demand for labor and supply, and the typical career pathways for the region's seven high-growth target industries. It also will provide the number of unemployed and underemployed workers in the region, and demonstrate the kind of skills, educational levels and experience such workers offer potential employers. This information will allow workforce development organizations to determine what types of training will be necessary for the region's workforce to fill the jobs expected in the future.
"Whether it's availability, affordability or productivity, workforce is an important factor for every company considering an expansion or relocation in our region," Buffalo Niagara Enterprise President and CEO Thomas A. Kucharski said. "BNE's ability to provide timely, accurate and up-to-date labor data is often an important distinguishing factor that enables us to secure investment and job creation opportunities for our region. I would like to thank the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board for their recognition of the value of this study, and their funding support."
The latest recommendation for proceeds awards stem from legislation signed into law in 2012 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, known as the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act. The legislation authorizes "net earnings" from the sale of unused hydropower from NYPA's Niagara project to be deposited into the Western New York economic development fund to support economic development in Western New York. The fund has accrued approximately $41 million to date. The NYPA trustees, on the basis of earlier recommendations by the Proceeds Allocation Board, have approved approximately $21 million for awards.
The Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board reviewed these and other applications for fund proceeds in accordance with requirements of the act. For example, eligible projects must be located within a 30-mile radius of NYPA's Niagara Power Project. The allocation board also considers the extent to which an award would be consistent with the strategies and priorities of the area New York regional economic development councils.
The Allocation Board is comprised of the following members, all appointed by Cuomo: Colucci, managing attorney of the law firm of Colucci & Gallaher in Buffalo; Deanna Alterio Brennen, president of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce; Brenda Williams McDuffie, president of the Buffalo Urban League; Dennis W. Elsenbeck, regional executive, National Grid Western Division; and Henry F. Wojtaszek, general counsel at Off-Track Betting of Western New York.