JOHNSTOWN - A regional council is gathering proposals for economic-development-related projects that could receive state grant funding.
Last year, the area received more than $13 million for economic development projects in Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton counties under the state's new competitive economic development initiative.
A second round of state funding is now available, and the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council is preparing an application.
Ken Tompkins, director of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, makes a point during Thursday’s Consolidated Funding Application workshop at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
The Leader-Herald/John R. Becker
A new online tool called the Consolidated Funding Application will provide quicker and easier access to this year's pool of $750 million in state economic development grants, officials said.
Representatives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council came to Fulton-Montgomery Community College on Thursday to explain the new application.
FMCC President Dustin Swanger welcomed those attending the presentation.
"Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo created 10 regional economic development councils," Swanger said. "They've been successful. The state decided to come up with a consolidated funding application. That is a transformative piece. Over a dozen agencies can be reached through one application."
Businesses and organizations can submit Consolidated Funding Applications, which will be reviewed by the regional council.
The CFA will "streamline and expedite the grant application process," according to a description of the process found on the website nyworks.com. "The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs."
Ken Tompkins, director of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, said economic development has been "sort of a top-down process. We want to make it more bottom-up in order to attract investment that will bring economic development to New York state."
The CFA will serve as the "single entry point for access to economic development funding," according to the website. "Applicants will no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. Now, economic development projects will use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier and more productive."
The deadline for submitting the online CFA is 4 p.m. July 16. Announcement of awards will be made this fall.
Municipalities, not-for-profits, businesses and other eligible organizations can apply for a project. In Fulton County, any business, not-for-profit or other eligible organization that has a potential project should request a project summary form from either Mike Reese, president of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, or James Mraz, planning director for the Fulton County Planning Department.
Project summary forms need to be submitted to Mraz or Reese by 5 p.m. June 6, according to a news release from the Fulton County Planning Department.
Frank Murray, president and chief executive officer of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said the new application will ensure less bureaucracy and more efficiency.
"I don't know another state that's doing it this way," he said.
Some improvements have been built into the application as well, he said.
"We're providing more time to apply," he said. "Last year, the time limit was eight weeks; this year, it's 11 and a half weeks."
The review process also has been lengthened from three weeks last year to seven weeks this year, he said.
"The CFA improvements have been made to the online application process to make it more user-friendly," Murray said.
Murray said the number of council workshops has more than tripled from last year to this year.
"Last year, there were 10 workshops, one for each regional economic development council," Murray said. "The governor felt we needed to reach out to even more communities. This year, we're doing a total of 33 workshops."
Murray said the workshops have been popular with local governments, economic development officials and developers.