Thursday, November 29, 2007

HVCFI in Funding Crisis, Call your Legislator

In Governor Spitzer's inaugural address, on day one, he made an interesting remark : Like Rip Van Winkle, the legendary character created by the New York author Washington Irving, New York has slept through much of the past decade while the rest of the world has passed us by.

That seems to be true specifically in Ulster County, the Ways and Means committee of the Ulster County legislature just denied 250k in funding to the Hudson Valley Center for Innovation, which may force this center that is such an asset to Ulster County, to shut its doors or move out of Ulster County. HVCFI has proven results with bringing in tech business and creating jobs for Ulster County residents. The HVCFI is striving to become self-sustaining through licensing revenues, corporate sponsorships, continued local, state and federal grants as quickly as possible, this funding is not a permanent thing.

When the HVCFI does get off the ground and become self sustaining, lets hope we would of had the foresight to keep them here in Ulster County. Let's ask ourselves can we really afford not to fund this program? New York State Business Council gave Ulster County an "F" failing grade for economic development earlier this year. So why in the world would the legislature even think of jeopardizing the loss of 15 jobs and four Ulster County businesses?

I was in Albany with two Ulster County legislators ( Sue Zimet and Robert Parete), when Governor Spitzer made his remarks about Rip Van Winkle and how the world has passes us by during the Pataki administration. Lets not be the county that fell asleep and let the Hudson Valley Center for Innovation pass by Ulster County.

Call your legislator and ask them to support the funding for the Hudson Valley Center for Innovation. Link to your legislator's contact info -----> County Legislature


Anonymous said...

Ulster County is fucked, Jeremy. Time to move away.


Anonymous said...


I am not sure if you know this but in addition to the jobs that this organization has created or kept in Ulster County, it also has a monthly breakfast series that is free and open to the public. Usually 30 to 40 people attend them. From being at past events it would seem that the Center does not fund the breakfast, like the Chamber of Commerce, it too gets a sponsor to take care of the cost of the food and beverage.

I have attended quite a few of them though not the latest one. However, I will tell you and the readers here that the topics are unique to this area. You can not find the caliber of discussions anywhere in the Hudson Valley when it comes to the topics.

At any rate, I call on each and every one of your readers to call their local legislators and tell them that we do want to keep technology jobs in Ulster County. Who knows, one day a "seed" company already in operation at the incubator will grow to produce hundreds of real high-paying jobs.

Anonymous said...

Legislators who were asleep at the wheel when taxpayers were robbed of 40 million dollars in the jail are now being penny wise and pound foolish by not continuing the initial investment made for HVCFI.

It has been more than 15 years since IBM left Ulster County...aside from crying about the loss...what have our elected leaders done?

Jeremy Blaber said...

7:41 AM

Yes, I'm very aware of that. I attended their last breakfast a few days ago. It was very informative.

Anonymous said...

More mischievous machinations from the Parete's. Rob Parete just sent around an email to the legislature saying that Sunday's Caucus at Dem Headquarters has been cancelled. He now wants to make the decisions on how and when to vote at a Caucus on the 5th of December and is pushing for a vote by Proxy. If this is allowed to happen the vote will not be open to the public. So much for transparency and openness!

Anonymous said...

If $450,000 which they have already received over 18 months,is not enough, why will an additional $125,000 fix things? Where does it stop?

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see this endeavor succeed, especially with that kind of public money invested. Is has not produced enough to be become a sustainable business venture. How and when does a failing start up business become local governments problem? There is a disconnect for me.

We have County residents with no Health Insurance and worse, no food. At some point, this non producing corporate welfare has to be placed as a lower priority. There are never any guarantees and are very high risk.I don't want Government gambling with my money.

From a 2006 Freeman article.

The model we've used is slightly different," said Thomas Phillips, executive director of the Hudson Valley Technology Development Center and the Center for Innovation's chairman and director. "Rather than focus on the research aspects of it, we specialize in executive management assistance.

Translate that to --- they hire corporate Executives as consultants.

I would rather see that money go to heating a cold house this winter or feeding a home bound Senior Citizen.

Anonymous said...

The meeting was cancelled due to the bad weather forecast for Sunday. Some Legislaotrs live nearly an hour from Kingston.

Is "he" making decisions or is he asking the entire caucus to discuss something and then make a decision.

Proxy voting is used to ensure everyone gets a chance to vote who may not be able to be there.

Caucus votes are not made public. They are done with paper ballots and only the winner is revealed and not the total number of votes.

By the way, Parete is the Majority Whip. It is his job to do this stuff.

Here is Robert Parete's note.You be the judge. It sounds pretty fair to me. Of course, if you are looking for trouble, will always find it.

Due to the impending weather forecast, the Leadership vote will not take place on Sunday, December 2, 2007. Instead, the Democratic Caucus will meet on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 to discuss leadership voting, and in particular, voting by proxy. Caucus will begin at 5:30PM sharp. This caucus will take place just prior to the annual budget vote.
Only those members who are part of the 2008 Democratic Caucus will be allowed to cast a vote whether to allow voting by proxy for the 2008 Leadership. This will be decided on Wednesday, but the Leadership vote will be scheduled for next Sunday, December 9, 2007 at 9:30AM at Democratic HQ on Fair Street in Kingston. As indicated in my previous email, the same agenda will apply.

Please note the 2005 Leadership Vote occurred on November 21st, 2005.

As always, feel free to contact me should you have any suggestions. Please respond to this email so I know you received it.

Anonymous said...

A $250,000 grant seems a bit steep for what they have produced so far, which is not much. I am glad they did not give them the money. We have an F in economic development in this county because of the people in charge of promoting economic development. Ask any member of the Chamber of Commerce. The legislature is an embarassment in that regard. Most of the people involved are uneducated and bring very little to no experience to the table to assist in bringing business to this county. Until we have people who have the life experience, and professional experience needed and are not interested in promoting some political agenda, this county will suffer in the economic develoment area as we have for the last several decades.

Robb Kinnin said...

Jeremy and All,

One of the companies that I own was listed in today's Daily Freeman article - Corp.

I would like to say that the Center for Innovation hosts more than just three companies, it hosts six.

The fact of the matter is that Ulster County and its fledgling businesses need an organization like this. There is no other county in the valley that has one. This makes this an unique product that propels Ulster County for technology upstarts.

There are some who have said, "Since your name is Hudson Valley" why not solicit money from other counties? I know that the Center has done this. In fact, other counties have said, "Come to our County and we will fund you".

Ulster County can not afford to have another organization leave the county and take with it jobs - especially technology related jobs.

For those in agreement, please call your local Legislator and tell them to we can not afford to lose jobs and a product that incubates companies into creating more technology jobs.

Thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

913 Are you trying to say that Rocket Scientist Rob Parete is trying to make the no vote invisible for taxpayers to see how our lawmakers voted?

Anonymous said...

To 1139am.

They wrote:
A $250,000 grant seems a bit steep for what they have produced so far, which is not much. I am glad they did not give them the money. We have an F in economic development in this county because of the people in charge of promoting economic development.

The $250,000 is producing tangible and in-tangible results. The Center got 6 new companies to host or kept some fraction thereof from moving away from Ulster County. That is a great accomplishment by today's standards.

What Ulster County needs is high tech or manufacturing jobs. This is an example of how high tech jobs can be created and kept!

The residents of Ulster County need to decide...Is this a bedroom community or not. I, for one, believe that the County should not be a bedroom community.

Anonymous said...

To 10:56am

I don't believe the $250k is to fix something. It is too keep something that has a POSITIVE effect in the not for profit business community afloat. That something is to work with start up technology businesses that come here to Ulster County.

I called HVCFI this afternoon. They explained to me that the $450k came from the IDA and from Ulster County Development Corp in late 2005. While on the phone I also learned that they thought that Ulster County Development Corp had submitted the paperwork for the funding but hadn't. They said the President of the Development Corp was not aware that paperwork had to be submitted on their behalf. What, I thought? They then explained to me that the President of the Development Corp was new to the process this year as he is new to the County.

It seems like this may go down because of some procedural BS folks. I can't belive it. I have never been there but it seems like the program is a good one. I gave my email address and asked that I be put on the mailing list for future events. I hope there are future events!

If you have direct questions or can offer some assistance to them, call like I did - 845.943.5660.

Anonymous said...

NOTHING RISKED, NOTHING GAINED. Why don't we propose cutting the size of the legislature?

Then all of those blowhards can go to Walmart to get a job and health insurance. Try raising a family on 9 per hour. This is the future of Ulster County.

Anonymous said...

Where is Hector????????

Isn't he the head of the county committee on economic devlopment? Why is he MIA on this issue?

Anonymous said...

Call Hector and tell him to stop taking smoke breaks and help the HVCFI!

Robb Kinnin said...

Hello Robb here again...

I have been asked to appear on Speak Out on WKNY [AM 1490] Saturday morning [12.1.07]. The show is at 9am. This topic will be featured for a full hour.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call into the show - 331.1490


Anonymous said...

HVCFI pinning its problems on UCDC is completely unfair and just another blame game. It is NOT UCDC's responsibility to submit HVCFI's budget request to the legislature. In fact, HVCFI has NEVER made a budget request to the legislature before this year.

UCDC fought hard with NYSESD to obtain the final payments owed to HVCFI under a grant agreement and to straighten out their books. HVCFI has done some good work, but perhaps not enough to bring legislators around to funding it.

Don't forget: UC's total economic development budget is $250k! HVCFI was asking them to double that and apparently, some feel the results have not been tangible.

Where is HVCFI's annual report? Where is their auditor'r report? Where are their monthly financials?

Small busines owner said...

I'll tell you one thing, if they fold up as an "innovation center", they should go into the PR business. They are doing a great job of blaming someone else for their failures and problems. If I opened another business and it does not make it, will the county help me with an operating budget? I don't think so.

Robb Kinnin said...

To 1:32am

You may be right about not submitting a budget request to the full legislature. The Center didn't need to do it in the past. The UCDC President did it for them. There is no blame game going on. The Center and current leadership of UCDC was not aware paperwork for county funding needed to come from UCDC. The prior administration of UCDC just handled it in the past.

Where you are wrong is that UCDC, as reported in the Daily Freeman, originally requested $800,000 for its 2008 budget. What it seems to be getting is only $250,000.

You seem to know alot about payments from NYSED, which does not seem to be public knowledge. There is nothing private about it either, mind you. The Center is always appreciative of governmental collaboration. BUT, if you know about this, then YOU have the Center's budget and report.

Six current companies with a total of ten that have passed through the Incubator is no small feat. This is about jobs in Ulster County.

Any business plan written, since time immemorial, does not measure a profit and BIG results for 5 years. Talk with any business person or academic about this. But in this case, The Center for Innovation has had measured results.

If you are not interested in seeing a success story like this continue, I would be very interested in hearing what your concrete plan is for economic development and why it would not include a high tech business incubator. If you would prefer to speak with me one-on-one, give me a call too - 943.6106.

Anonymous said...

Hey there 7:10pm

The size of the Legislature is going to be cut to "single member districts" as part of the Charter Reform.

We'll see how the likes of Hector compete with the likes of Susan Zimet in that District. It will be fun to watch in two years. Susan will trample Hector.

Anonymous said...

Hey there "Small busines owner",

The "innovation center" is not a for-profit business as you business seems to be. It is a not-for-profit business. Read their web site, as I have done to educate myself about their organization.

There are quite a few not-for-profits out there. There seems to be only one "innovation center" in the area.

By the way, I don't see them listing failures. Its odd that you do.

If you need PR you might want to give them a call to ask for assistance. I am sure they'll help ya.

les neumann said...

i want to emphasize that these are fairly new, emerging business' we are helping. How many new companies are in a position to hire hihgly paid executives after only a year in business?

If the only metric is the quantity of jobs then we are never going to measure up. but, from day one, our jobs metric was the quality of jobs. and, our overall mission is to inject management in the form of our Executive Mentors that the buisness would more than likely never be able to afford! In only one example, we have inserted five mentors, each with Fortune 100 backgrounds, that are working directly with the company to expedite thier products. Where else can this happen?

Anonymous said...

UCDC has its own PR problem to handle without any blame as mentioned in a few posts.

What the heck have taxpayers gotten from UCDC?

The Ulster Tomorrow sham is not coming out until NEXT YEAR! What's up with that?

Fed Up taxpayer said...

Les Neuman said:
If the only metric is the quantity of jobs then we are never going to measure up. but, from day one, our jobs metric was the quality of jobs. and, our overall mission is to inject management in the form of our Executive Mentors that the buisness would more than likely never be able to afford!

Les, it is good you are injecting executive mentors, but how much are they worth to the common working taxpayers? We are already working 2 jobs to make ends meet.

Why should we help 1 or 2 people get high paying jobs with our tax dollars? We need jobs for our kids. We don't need executive mentors.

UCDC should go too. No more government subsidies to under performing companies.