2020 6th Edition: May 25 - May 29
Secret Formula for Success

Dear Orange County Partnership Investors & Supporters,

Economic Development professionals are responsible for attracting new opportunities to support the economy and create jobs for our respective jurisdictions. The Orange County Partnership has successfully managed relationships with the most influential leaders in state, county and local government for more than three decades. Working together has been our secret formula for success. 

As you examine the landscape of our county, it’s easy to identify the communities that have embraced a balance of industrial, office and retail opportunities. That balance protects us from catastrophic economic downturns. It takes vision to identify priority growth corridors that support commercial development and bring wealth to the region. And it takes courage to stand up and take a shot when you know that the numbers don’t lie, the jobs bring prosperity and commercial development pays for quality of life. 

Some of our most lucrative projects moved forward in spite of a vocal minority of anti-growth, anti-everything protesters. Those projects (several of which are under construction, employing thousands of local contractors) will pay taxes and keep people employed in-perpetuity. While many of us understand the value of corporate attraction and the dollars it brings, now is the time to stand up for projects and be heard. It’s more important now, than ever before, that we work together to dig our way out of debt, and fight for a competitive business friendly New York. 

Recently when Elon Musk threatened to pull his Tesla HQ out of the state of California due to the COVID-19 restrictions, he also announced that this was the “final straw.” He stated that it’s not necessary to locate manufacturing in over-regulated, over-taxed environments like New York, California and Illinois in order to flourish. We heard him loud and clear, but did our state and local officials? Only time will tell. 

It’s easy to spot a progressive, business friendly town by the diversity of projects that are underway. But, are we losing our edge? Have we forgotten that bringing in new opportunity is like gold, set aside for catastrophic events like the one we are facing now?
In my conversations with municipal leaders from all over the county, I hear their deep concerns about making up the shortfall. “We’re cutting jobs and slashing budgets department by department.” “We have an $11-million, $5-million, $14-million deficit,” and it goes on and on. And again, all at once, it becomes abundantly clear that commercial development projects will continue to pay taxes, create jobs, and stabilize their respective communities and school districts. 

A few years back the Partnership published a booklet entitled, “Increasing Tax Ratables, A Guide to Balanced Growth.”

We published this guide with the help of some of the most knowledgeable business leaders in the region. It was drafted to educate residents and community leaders on the value of commercial development and offer real solutions and suggestions on how to increase tax ratables throughout our local municipalities. At the time of publication and distribution, local planning board members thanked us for providing fact-based information that would back up their decisions to support commercial projects. As commercial tax revenues increase, residential services are enhanced and tax increases are offset. Commercial growth directly improves quality of life by supporting important local community services including schools, fire, police and emergency services, transportation and waste management to name just a few.

Today’s business marketplace is highly competitive and new business recruitment is no different. We are competing against every county in every state across the country to bring in clean industry that creates new jobs. Every company that begins a site search and enters the site-selection process has its own internal clock. Corporate executives in each company set an attainable deadline for project completion. When municipalities can’t work within a reasonable timeframe, they stand to lose millions of dollars for the residents that elected them to lead. When companies pull out to find other locations, we tarnish our reputation and jeopardize future opportunities. 

During these critical times, we need to work hand-in-hand with our community leaders, supporting projects that can right the ship and pull us out of this COVID-induced economic downturn. If we don’t, our only alternative is to raise taxes and roll out the red carpet for Florida and other states that are eating our lunch. 

My very best,

Maureen Halahan

President & CEO
Orange County Partnership

ULI Predicts Short-Lived Pandemic-Induced Recession
Not all forecasts are predicting doom and gloom for the real estate markets due to the significant economic impacts caused by the ongoing Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

The Urban Land Institute (ULI), while acknowledging the shockwaves the COVID-19 pandemic has sent across the globe, it notes that nearly 40 U.S. real estate economists are predicting that there is light at the end of the tunnel, forecasting a short-lived recession and above average GDP growth in 2021 and 2022.

Gov. Cuomo Says State Must ‘Think Big’ and Rebuild 
Infrastructure to Stimulate U.S. Economy
NEW YORK—Harkening back to America’s past, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said recently that with the nation’s economy crippled from the Coronavirus, now is the time to make major infrastructure investment to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

“We know that government can stimulate the economy. This country has done it in the past where we have engaged in major public works that made the nation better and when we did it, we stimulated the economy,” the governor said at a press conference at the New York Stock Exchange on May 26. “You look at all the great things that this nation did, building the Hoover Dam and the Lincoln Tunnel, all these magnificent public improvements, that made the nation, the nation—and created thousands of jobs at the same time.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed the need for major infrastructure investment on May 26 when he rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on May 26 marking the reopening of the NYSE. The exchange commenced operations with less traders on the trading floor who were wearing masks and complying with mandatory safe practices.

Source: New York State Association of Realtors, Quarterly Report on the New York State Market 2020

Real Estate Sales Down Due to COVID-19 Restrictions; Executives Hopeful for Quick Turnaround in Phase 2
The spring regional housing market report just released by the Center for Housing Solutions & Community Initiatives notes that sales volume is down across the region due to restrictions imposed by New York State to prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

Pattern for Progress recently hosted a very informative video presentation entitled Healthcare—The COVID Frontline that featured moderator Jonathan Drapkin, president & CEO, Pattern for Progress along with Dr. Hal Teitelbaum, M.D., J.D. - founder, managing partner & CEO, Crystal Run Healthcare; Joan Cusack-McGuirk, president & CEO, Montefiore St. Luke's Cornwall and Linda S. Muller, president & CEO, Cornerstone Family Healthcare.
Central Hudson Details $1 Million ‘Back to Business’ Program for Small Businesses
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. has launched a “Back to Business” funding program and is committing up to $1 million in economic development support to provide local small businesses with grants to help pay down new working capital loans taken with participating local banks.

Tech, Communications Firms Studying Effectiveness of Work at Home Policies
Orange County received some welcome news earlier this month when Charter Communications announced it was significantly expanding its Spectrum-residential Internet call center in the Town of Wallkill.

Thanks to COVID-19, those new employees may be working from home at least in the short term.

Orange County Partnership Event Survey
As New Yorkers begin to transition back into the workforce, we eagerly await the opportunity to see you in person and gather together at events. As part of our planning strategy, we want to hear from you, our valued investors, to better understand what you’re thinking and feeling. To that end, we have created a confidential survey where your responses will be anonymous and will only be used for our internal analysis. The survey is 10 questions and should take no longer than 3 minutes to complete.

Thank you in advance for your participation and support!
As one of the world’s largest healthcare companies, McKesson knows they play a critical role in making medications and supplies available to customers and patients. Their role in healthcare delivery is immense and is even more so now as the global pandemic wears on. Keeping their supply chain running at increased capacity, relies heavily on the staff working day in and day out. The management team at McKesson in Montgomery quickly realized that to sustain their productivity there would need to be a different level of employee appreciation introduced. They have been providing meals on a daily basis for their staff from local eateries. The company is spending thousands of dollars each week to keep their employees well fed while on the job but also providing a much needed boost to sales that so many of the local restaurants need. Kudos to McKesson in Montgomery for turning the little things that make people happy, in to big things.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc, numerous companies & local leaders have stepped up to assist our community. We'd like to recognize and keep you apprised of private businesses that are creatively supporting our community during these challenging times.

From making well known retail displays to providing food packaging, Orange Packaging offers full retail solutions. Orange Packaging also seeks to help find a solution to the mask and face shields needed in the area. The company has been making face shields out of the plastic that they would usually be using for their packaging materials. Also, when they realized that other companies could not get access the plastic to make face shields as well, they donated their materials to them.

PRG is known for their dramatic set work, design, and entertainment. However, since the pandemic, they have been using their craftsmen skills for a different cause. PRG has been creating face shields to supply to those on the frontline.  

With their business growing, FPS Apparel needed to expand their operations and they chose to move to Chester in nearly double the space. Now, they are using this extra space to give back by making and donating over 8,400 masks for frontline workers.

The Orange County Association of Towns, Villages and Cities represents the 21 towns, 19 villages and three cities in Orange County. The organization realizes access to good, nutritious food is essential and understanding that supplies at many non-profits who typically provide food to those in need is down, The Executive Committee has approved sending a $1,000 check to each of the following organizations - RECAP, HONOR, Hudson Valley Food Bank, Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan and TOUCH.

Between working remotely for her clients, Deborah Garry, President & CEO of BBG&G Full-Service Integrated Marketing Agency  decided she needed to help. So far she has made about six dozen face masks and distributed them to Crystal Run Healthcare, Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties as well as friends and family members. Her home “factory” consists of her sewing machine, an ironing board and a work table raised up on four bed risers left over from her sons’ college dorm days.
Walden Savings Bank  completed its 22 Days of Giving campaign and donated $11,000 in bank-matched employee donations to 32 community members and organizations helping those in need.
Clemson Bros. Brewery  set up a Small Business Relief Fund and donated $10,000 of their own money to the cause. They are also accepting donations from the community to go towards the fund to help small businesses throughout the Hudson Valley.
The Keller Williams –Chris Scibelli Team  is stepping up in a major way to help. As a team they have agreed to give back 5% of earnings (based on commissions earned from the sale or purchase of any home) from now until August 31, 2020. The money they will be giving back will be donated in their clients names to frontline workers in Orange County. Talk about a selfless act!

Milmar Food Group located in Goshen, donated 10,000 pounds of food to Orange County's Office for the Aging to benefit the county’s Senior Meals Program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Servpro of North Orange County , a restoration facility located in Middletown, has been utilizing their services by helping our local first responders stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak including disinfecting the City of Newburgh's patrol cars and sanitizing the Goodwill Fire House located in Newburgh at no cost. 

Moroney's Harley Davidson located in New Windsor, graciously donated head covers to local nurses, doctors and medical workers at Highland Rehab & Nursing Center in Middletown. 

Mount Saint Mary College in the City of Newburgh has donated more than 7,000 disposable gloves and hundreds of masks and gowns from its School of Nursing supplies to regional hospitals, retirement homes and even the temporary hospital at the Javits Center in Manhattan. The college sent about 5,000 gloves to Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh, 1,500 to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern in Rockland County, and 500 to Four Winds Hospital in Cross River in Westchester County.

Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery , in partnership with their sister business, Black Dirt Distillery have produced hand sanitizer for local hospitals and nursing homes throughout the region.

The Castle Fun Center , a popular family entertainment center in Chester, N.Y., is helping keep front-line healthcare workers safe by using its 3-D printer to manufacture components for face shields, a type of personal protection equipment in short supply. So far, more than 100 have been created; it will produce 500 to 1,000 or more, depending on the ongoing need.

From their home or classroom, local educators from Pine Bush Central School District , Minisink Valley Central School District and Goshen Central School Districts are creating face shields using 3-D printers as personal protective equipment for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Aurochemicals: The internationally recognized manufacturer of natural aroma ingredients in the flavor and fragrance industry, based in Washingtonville, has provided tens of thousands of hard-to-find surgical masks to protect healthcare and first-responder teams in the community. The company recently supplied Orange County Government with 50,000 surgical masks and provided 42,000 masks to Orange Regional Medical Center. 

Bonura Hospitality Group:  The wildly successful company, which owns and operates restaurants, catering halls and a hotel, has had to lay off more than 400 of their 1,000 employees during the pandemic. The family-owned business is making meals out of an otherwise closed facility to care for not only their employees but their families, providing a hot meals every day for curbside pickup.  

Konica Minolta and Laborers’ Local 17 LECET/Hudson Valley Building & Construction Trades Council have donated a number of N-95 and N-99 masks to nursing homes and first responders throughout Orange County.

SUNY Orange: In response to requests from healthcare facilities in Orange County fighting COVID-19 on the front lines, the leaders of SUNY Orange Health Professions Programs recently delivered a donation of 4,505 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items to the Newburgh campus of Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital.

DNA Entertainment hosted a live stream dance party and raised more than $6,000 to supply meals for workers around Orange County’s medical centers, nursing homes and urgent care facilities.

Fidanza Family Properties: The property, food and beverage management group based in Middletown, announced a food donation program for businesses who want to help supply meals to essential employees while on the job. Business can make a donation by ordering food from one of their restaurants (Pizza E Birra and Planet Wings) and the company will match that donation, up to $1,500 worth of food. To date, $2,0000 worth of food has been donated to the staff at Orange Regional Medical Center. To participate email: franco@planetwings.com .

Construction Contractors Association , Danskammer , Boyce Excavating and Focus Media were all instrumental in securing and donating to the emergency need of N-95 masks to protect medical workers from the Coronavirus.

Medline Industries , the nation’s largest privately-held healthcare manufacturer and distributor, has worked tirelessly with local hospitals and healthcare facilities to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) and has donated an abundance of supplies to the Town of Montgomery and Orange County.

Orange County Distillery was creative in turning a 55-gallon barrel of extremely high-proof spirits into hand sanitizer, which they gave out to Orange County residents for FREE.

Please help us recognize private-business leaders who are creatively contributing to the health and well-being of our community. Please share stories by emailing our Marketing Director, Sarah Brosnan to be included in next week's newsletter:

We are all in this together, the best of people come out
in the worst of times.

Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Strong.
Follow us on our social media platforms to stay up-to-date on all of the latest economic development news!