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Lt. Governor in town for Economic Council meeting, seeking input from residents

By HILARY LANE

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy was in town Thursday overseeing a Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Council meeting at Herkimer County Community College.

The goal of the council is to bring local business leaders, politicians, and residents together to brainstorm ways to take the Mohawk Valley to the next level and bring economic prosperity and success to the area.

2011 was the first year Governor Andrew Cuomo launched an initiative to divide the state into ten regional economic councils and have them all face-off for millions of dollars in funding.

The Mohawk Valley region brought home $60.2 million for 59 different projects, including fiber-optic systems, grants to local colleges and universities, and millions of dollars for nano-tech programs at SUNYIT.

Under the advisement of the Lieutenant Governor, the council is now working on creating an advisory board to oversee how last year's money is being spent. The group is also working on ideas to win even more money next year.

"We have work to do and a long ways to go, but there are some very exciting opportunities that people are looking at this region and you should be very proud of that," said Duffy. "It is because your educational institutions, business leaders, the collegiality and teamwork they have here is extremely special."

Duffy would not get into specifics, but said he is working with the economic council to attract more big businesses to the area to help the local economy flourish.

The council members recognize that area resident know the region best and are looking for local input, which can be given at the next council meeting will be held June 14, 2012 at 11 a.m. at SUNY Oneonta.

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