‘The Gray Area’ Discusses Successful Fort Drum Day, SUNY Bill A.8251

Assemblyman Scott Gray (R,C-Watertown) released the latest episode of “The Gray Area” video series. In this week’s episode, Gray delves into the economic and strategic significance of Fort Drum and discusses his SUNY bill, the SUNY Excess Building Asset Inventory and Repurposing Act (SEBAIRA). Amid financial challenges for SUNY institutions, Gray’s legislation aims to ensure optimal efficiency by mandating SUNY campuses assess all assets and identify surplus buildings for potential repurposing or potential cost assumption by SUNY. This move ensures taxpayer and student dollars are maximized for effective operations. Unfortunately, the bill was held in the Higher Education Committee.

“During Fort Drum Day this week, we extended a warm welcome to Brigadier General Matthew Braman, Deputy Commanding General of support at Fort Drum and Garrison Commander Colonel Matthew Myer, as well as other distinguished soldiers from the base. During this advocacy day, I had the opportunity to engage with various community leaders and facilitate meetings with key stakeholders, including Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado and Justin Driscoll, President and CEO of the New York Power Authority to discuss future energy needs and sustainability initiatives for Fort Drum,” Gray said. “Fort Drum has a $2.5 billion economic impact on the area and accounts for 21% of our employment in the Tri-County Area, which is why it’s critically important we continue to cultivate strong relationships between the base and local government, businesses and organizations.”

Beyond Fort Drum advocacy, Gray addressed legislative matters, including the introduction of SEBAIRA, “With a focus on identifying underutilized assets across SUNY campuses statewide, my bill aims to mitigate financial burdens on institutions while exploring opportunities for repurposing these structures. We must address this issue as it significantly impacts their expenses, which is why I remain committed to pushing for this bill on behalf of SUNY students and campuses. SUNY campuses have to concentrate both their financial and Human Resources on educating students, not struggling with abandoned buildings.”

“As we’re winding down our legislative session, there are a lot of important bills and a lot of controversial bills that are coming up, so I will keep you posted on all these bills in terms of what we believe to be the upsides and what we believe to be the downsides.

“Look out for next week’s episode of The Gray Area as we continue to update you on what you care about. We always appreciate the opportunity to serve you and to work with you. Don’t hesitate to call my office staff with questions, comments or concerns—see you soon,” Gray concluded.

Watch the full episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHquR02NzDk