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Schuyler IDA delays lease approval for Seneca Harbor property after controversy

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  • Staff Report 

The Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has deferred the decision to approve a new tenant for the Seneca Harbor waterfront site, formerly occupied by Horseheads Brewing. During Wednesday’s meeting, the board faced scrutiny over their tenant selection process and opted to postpone the vote until further review of their procedures can be conducted.

Board members expressed their need for due diligence. “I simply ask for a postponement of the vote tonight, the approval. So it allows you as a board to maybe have a little bit more discussion,” said John Christianson, a representative of Horseheads Brewing’s owning company.

Questions arose about the scoring system used to evaluate proposals, with IDA CEO/CFO Judy McKinney Cherry explaining that it was based on the nine questions from the Request for Proposals (RFP).

Despite assurances that the scoring rubrics will be made public, they are not currently available for review, leading to concerns over transparency. “That rubric will be available,” Cherry stated, without providing a specific timeline for its release. IDA Chair Carl Taber admitted to not having seen the scored rubrics himself.

As the board moves to consult with their solicitor, they maintain their commitment to the community’s best interests, with Taber affirming the dedication of those involved in the review process. The IDA plans to address the lease approval in its next monthly meeting.