Lewis County

February 09, 2007: Empire Zone Administrative Board Metting




February 9, 2007



1.       Call to Order:  The meeting of the Lewis County Zone Administrative Board (ZAB) was called to order by Chairman Sorbello at 8:38 AM in the meeting room at the Town of Lowville Municipal Offices, Lowville, NY.


Attendance:  Members Present:  John Sorbello, Terry Thisse, Glenn Gagnier, Doreen Marks-Garrett, Elizabeth Woods, Gary Williams, Robert Teal, Arleigh Rice, Eric Virkler, Cheryl Shenkle-O'Neill, Marian Opela.  Legislators Present:  Jerry King, John Boyd.  Staff/Others:  Ned Cole, Vicki Roy, Renee Beyer.


Excused:  Frederick Schneider, Virgil Taylor, Haskell Yancey.


2.     Review and Approval of Minutes:  The minutes from the December 28, 2006 special meeting were presented.  Mr. Virkler made a motion to

      accept the minutes with no changes; Mr. Gagnier seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.


3.         Housekeeping:


·        Zone administration transition from IDA to the County - Mr. Sorbello informed the ZAB that the transition of administration for the Zone had gone smoothly and that as of January 1, 2007 the Lewis County Department of Economic Development is responsible for Empire Zone administration within the County.  Mr. Sorbello thanked Mr. Cole for his work and stated that he continues to be of great assistance in administering the Zone.  Renee Beyer has been appointed as interim Zone Coordinator and the County intends to hire a person to be the Empire Zone Coordinator.  Mr. Sorbello stated that he would like a few of the ZAB members to participate in the interview process.  Mr. Thisse, Mr. Schneider, Mrs. Marks-Garrett and Mr. Cole all agreed to be involved in the interview process.

·        Mr. Sorbello asked for nominations from the floor for a Vice-Chairperson.  Mr. Thisse nominated Frederick Schneider, Mr. Rice seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.


·        The Committee list was addressed and Mrs. Beyer explained that the incorrect committee list had been mailed with the agenda.  Mrs. Beyer distributed a more current committee list.  Four ZAB members are not included on any Committee and the request was made to add these members to a committee.  Mr. Virkler will be added to the Budget Committee, Mrs. Opela and Mr. Schneider will be added to the Bylaws Committee and Mr. Boyd will be added to the Zone Capital Credits Committee.  Mr. Thisse made a motion to approve the Committee additions as they stand; Mr. Williams seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.




4.         Correspondence and Communication:  None

5.         Zone Administration Update: 

       Mr. Sorbello gave an update of the status of the Lewis County Empire Zone.  He explained that he hand delivered the boundary re designation packets to our new Program Assistant (PA) at Empire State Development, Judith Tholl.  The re-designation packets are being reviewed and will hopefully be approved soon.  The question was raised in regard to our ability to certify businesses yet.  Mr. Sorbello explained that the ZAB would not be able to certify businesses until the re-designation is approved.        

Mrs. Beyer explained to the ZAB that once the packets are approved, a Development Plan must be submitted within 90 days.  Mrs. Beyer explained that a copy of the Draft Development Plan had been given to each member present.  Mrs. Beyer explained that she and Mr. Cole have worked on the Plan and that Empire State Development must approve the Plan before the ZAB can approve it.  Mrs. Beyer asked the ZAB to read the Plan and provide input.

Mr. Sorbello reported to the ZAB that he, Mrs. Roy and Mrs. Beyer had attended an Empire Zone training session in January in Albany.  It was noted by Mrs. Roy that the Empire Zones Program is very in depth and that all members of the ZAB could benefit from training.

6.        Hiring Process for New Zone Coordinator: 

Mr. Sorbello explained to the ZAB that it is his intent to have an advertisement in the newspapers this weekend to hire another person for the Lewis County Economic Development Department to administer the Empire Zones Program.  He further explained that he would like to do interviews in early to mid-March and have a new employee hired by April.

7.         New Business:  Mr. Sorbello and Mrs. Beyer presented a resolution to the ZAB at the request of the Statewide Zone Capital Credit Corporation.  The Corporation is requesting to offer loans to zone-certified businesses located in any and all Empire Zones.  Discussion was had about the loan program offered by the Corporation.  Mr. Williams made a motion to approve the resolution; Mr. Thisse seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Cheryl Shenkle-O'Neill asked the ZAB to authorize a letter of support for her project on Water Street in the Village of Lowville.  Mrs. Shenkle-O'Neill explained the project to the ZAB.  Mrs. Woods made a motion that the Chairman of the ZAB draft a letter of support; Mr. Gagnier seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

8.         Old Business:  Mr. Sorbello addressed the copy of the Bylaws that had been distributed to the ZAB.  He explained that the County Attorney had written the Bylaws.  Mr. Rice stated that he felt the By-Law Committee should meet to discuss the Bylaws.  The Bylaws Committee will meet on the February 21st at 10:00 AM in the Town of Lowville meeting room.


            Mr. Gagnier asked and was informed that all of the Towns and Villages returned their Empire Zone Resolutions for the Boundary Amendment.


Mr. Sorbello discussed the terms of the current ZAB members.  The resolution passed last evening and he informed the ZAB that they would receive a copy of the resolution via mail. 


It was discussed that the next meeting will be held in March once a candidate for the Empire Zone Coordinator has been selected.  Mr. Williams asked that the ZAB be allowed to meet the candidate before he/she is hired.


9.         Adjournment:  Mr. Thisse made a motion to adjourn; Mr Gagnier seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.  The meeting adjourned at 10:17 AM.


Respectfully submitted,




Renee J. Beyer

Interim Zone Coordinator

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