For $100 million, what are we getting for our money?

Posted at: 01/14/2013 4:52 PM
Updated at: 01/18/2013 2:53 PM
By: Ray Levato

It's called sustainability and Monroe County is in line to get a lot of money to study it. It promises to create jobs, but at what cost?

Sustainability is a new buzz word that many people may not be familiar with. Sustainability is using our resources more wisely and efficiently to sustain them for future generations.

But for $100 million, what are we getting for our money?

Sustainability is part of Gov. Cuomo's Cleaner, Greener Communities initiative. The goal is to empower regions around the state to create more sustainable communities by funding smart development practices. The ten regions would share in a pot of $90 million over three years. The money would be awarded competitively and each of the ten regions would get $900,000 for planning the projects that would be submitted for funding.

Veteran local planner David Zorn is project manager for the Finger Lakes Regional Sustainability Plan. News10NBC asked him why does it take nearly a million dollars, $900,000, just for planning?

David Zorn, project manager, Finger Lakes Regional Sustainability Plan, said, “I think before we even get to recommendations, we're doing some serious assessment work. How do we then say okay we have this. Then we go into the phase of what do we want over the next 20 over 30 years, and then how do we get from where we are now to where we want to go?”

Planners also talk about the quality of life. For example, are we sustaining a good quality of life and improving it over the course of time? But what about you at home? How does the average person get their arms around this idea of sustainability?
Zorn said, “I think they first look at what they are doing or can do to maintain the resources in their own lifestyles. How do they want to do that? And the  help us reflect in the regional sustainability plan other activities that are going on, how best that we can do that collectively.”

The planners want public input. There are public sessions Tuesday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Batavia at the Genesee County Building No. 2 and in Geneva, at the Hobart and William Smith College Library. And Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at RIT's Golisano Institute for Sustainability. For more information on these sustainability, click here.

Monroe County is in the same footprint as the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, which has a similar purpose in terms of job creation, but basically it's Monroe County and eight surrounding counties.