Elmira, N.Y. -
Chemung County’s plan to seek as much as $750,000 in taxpayer money to help fix infrastructure at the site of a proposed Schlumberger Technology Corp. project met heavy opposition Tuesday during a public hearing in Elmira.
Residents expressed outrage at the plan – in which Chemung County will apply for a Community Development Block grant to help repair a roadway and sewers where Schlumberger plans to build at Horseheads industrial park – saying the multi-billion-dollar company has the means to pay for the work.
“It’s not right,” said Horseheads resident Ruth Young. “I abhor my tax money being spent this way.”
CDB grants must benefit low- and moderate-income persons, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
George Miner, the president of Southern Tier Economic Growth, said the grant money would help those classes of people because Schlumberger has signed a contract stating its hires will consist of at least 51 percent of people who are classified as low to moderate income.
“It’s a program to create jobs,” Miner said at the public hearing.
Also, Miner said the grant would allow the county to take ownership of a private road at the site and build it to county standards. And, he said, more than 300 people employed by other companies already work at the industrial center.
One man who spoke at the public hearing said giving Schlumberger grant money was equivalent to “corporate welfare.”
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