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More Links of the Day:

– Sticky Lips BBQ is fighting the state. The restaurant website homepage details how the state insists Sticky Lips should have paid prevailing wages to contractors during its Jefferson Rd. renovation. Because it sits on Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority property, the state considers the renovation subject to public works projects requirements.

The GVRMA was created in 1951 to serve as a food distribution center. It now seems more like a regular shopping plaza, which is why the state wanted to raid its big surplus a couple years ago.

Sticky Lips leases GVRMA land, but owns its own building and says it hasn’t gotten any tax incentives or grants. A 2010 Democrat and Chronicle report shows GVRMA tenants actually do get benefits from being located on public land (link no longer operating):

The market is at capacity in part because its land leases and rents are far below market rates, a luxury the authority can afford because it pays no property taxes on its land or buildings. It is subject to special district taxes for fire, ambulance and light services. Buildings erected by private companies on authority land are on the property tax rolls, but they are owned by the companies.

Authority officials and their supporters contend that the lower rents have helped nurture small businesses in Henrietta, and that if the property were privatized and taxed, rents would rise to an unaffordable level for some businesses.

I called the owner of Sticky Lips earlier today to learn more about the dispute, but he has not called me back.

Update: Howie Nielsen, the owner called me back. He said this could, at worst, cost him $100,000 if the contractors are ordered to make up the difference.

“I’m putting people to work. I’m putting money back in the community. What did I do wrong?” he said. Nielsen added he didn’t know when he bought the property about the prevailing wage issue.

– The U.S. Census reported today there are more non-white babies than white babies. Non-Hispanic white births make up 49.6 percent of all births, reports the New York Times:

While over all, whites will remain a majority for some time, the fact that a younger generation is being born in which minorities are the majority has broad implications for the country’s economy, its political life and its identity. “This is an important tipping point,” said William H. Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution, describing the shift as a “transformation from a mostly white baby boomer culture to the more globalized multiethnic country that we are becoming.”

Locally, we are also on a path to reach the tipping point. A very cool map from the Wall Street Journal shows that in Monroe County, whites make up 72 percent of the population. However, 56 percent of children under 5 are white.

– Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy said Medley Centre’s bid for state financing is a “stretch.” He said owner Scott Congel should go to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, but members say the project has never come up for discussion.

– “What’s Wegmans?” That’s what patrons of a northern New Jersey farmer’s markets asked upon hearing the chain is gobbling up a huge portion of a longstanding farm for a new store.

5 Responses to Sticky Situation

  1. May 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm tknobel responds:

    This “prevailing wage” thing is a bunch of crap! My friend worked as a flag-person on a NYS highway project.. his hourly rate was over $30.00. He would have been very happy with $15.00! NYS made his contractor pay “prevailing-wage” which NYS was charged for. Make any sense??

  2. Chef Howie is a great guy — he supported the effort to save the old subway tunnel downtown, and he & his mother supported the startup of the Genesee Valley Greenway. And that’s just the little bit that I know of his community activities. It’s distressing to hear of any small businessperson being targeted this way, but especially Howie!

    This story reminds me of nothing so much as the tactics used in Niagara Falls on construction projects not so long ago — until a number of the perpetrators were finally brought to bear by indictments.

    While I think the last thing Henrietta needs is more restaurants, Howie is reusing an already existing building, and he is a local restauranteur rather than a franchisee of a national chain. Locally owned businesses & reusing existing buildings rather than building new are both things that should be encouraged — not hindered.

    Chef Howie deserves better than this!!

  3. On Medley, no one in government wants to be the one who told Congel to eff off — or, a bit more nicely, to stop rattling his tin cup — so they’re all passing the buck.

  4. May 18, 2012 at 9:47 am Melissa Chinnock responds:

    Interesting that the article on the new Weggies in NJ says that most residents respond with “What’s Wegmans?”, but almost all of the comments to the article are excited about it coming.

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