The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council is a big winner yet again in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's annual competition for state funding.
The council, which represents Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties, received one of five top performer awards and $86.4 million to support 112 economic development projects. It is the highest total given to any of the state's 10 regional councils.
More than $755 million was awarded to the regional councils. The other top performer award winners were the Mohawk Valley, Capital Region, Mid-Hudson region and Long Island.
The Finger Lakes region, which includes Seneca County, received $63.9 million.
This was the seventh regional council awards ceremony since Cuomo became governor in 2011. He touted his economic development policies and argued that despite criticism of these programs, they are working.
He also sought to dismiss cynics who say the state isn't good for businesses. He highlighted what he believes are key achievements during his tenure: limits on government spending, lower taxes and aggressive economic development initiatives.
"You add up those three elements, that's a business-friendly economy and that is now what the state of New York offers," he said.
While most regions have had mixed success in the regional council program, central New York has been a big winner. Prior to Wednesday's ceremony, the region won $906.8 million in state support in the first six years of the competition. The total includes $500 million from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, a separate contest held in 2015 that awarded $1.5 billion to central New York and two other regions.
Central New York's success in the seventh round of the regional economic development council awards will benefit Cayuga County. State funding will support 26 projects within the county.
The list is highlighted by $1.98 million for Currier Plastics, an Auburn-based plastics manufacturer, to expand its operations, $1.2 million for the Auburn Schine Theater's restoration and $1.18 million for Martens Companies, a Port Byron farm, to build a food processing and distribution center.
Prison City Pub & Brewery in Auburn received $900,000 for its expansion project. DuMond Farms was awarded $879,000 to construct a soybean processing plant in the town of Fleming. The state gave $380,000 in grants and tax credits to Copper John Corporation, an Auburn archery accessories manufacturer, to buy new equipment and bring jobs back to the U.S.
Rounding out the priority projects is a $283,000 grant for the Cayuga County Industrial Development Agency's plan to expand the sewer system in the Aurelius Industrial Park. One of the park's main tenants is Cayuga Milk Ingredients.