Morelle Proposes Compromise to Protect 2,000 Local Jobs at Regional Market Authority

March 24, 2010

Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle, D-Irondequoit said today that he has successfully sought changes to the Assembly's 2010-11 budget resolution that protect and preserve over 2,000 local jobs by saving the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority (GVRMA) while reforming the authority's management practices and using some of its cash reserves to support other area agricultural agencies.

Slated for dissolution in Governor Paterson's proposed budget, the GVRMA has come under scrutiny because it had deviated from its original mandate to support farmers and instead become more involved with real estate development.

The state Senate budget resolution passed yesterday approves the abolishment of the GVRMA. Morelle said he would work to ensure that the Assembly's approach would be adopted as part of the final budget negotiations.

"The regional market has undeniably become an important element of the economy in Henrietta and Monroe County," Morelle said. "To abolish it after more than half a century would jeopardize more than 2,000 jobs at more than 120 businesses that rely upon it. We cannot allow the local economy to be further destabilized in this manner."

"However, we must also acknowledge that this state authority has drifted from its original mission, and therefore this compromise calls for a reallocation of the authority's reserves to regional organizations that share the authority's stated purpose, namely, the promotion of our region's agricultural economy."

Morelle said he hoped roughly $4.8 million of GVRMA funds would be distributed to assist agricultural organizations such as the Rochester Public Market during final negotiations. The modified budget resolution also calls for more transparency with respect to the GVRMA's management and finances and for the development of plans to assist agriculture.

"This fits with the general approach we must adopt with all of New York's authorities, which are too distant from public scrutiny. In the end they are in fact public authorities, and that means a great degree of accountability is in order," Morelle said.

"I believe my approach preserves the thousands of local jobs dependent on this state institution while enhancing the integrity of its operations. I particularly want to thank Henrietta Supervisor Michael Yudelson for his cooperation and partnership as we worked toward this outcome.