By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — The state Senate candidate seeking to unseat the area’s longtime representative says that there has been ‘no commitment’ to providing low cost power to Orleans County.
Amy Hope Witryol, the Democratic Party nominee for the 62nd State Senate District, embellished on the Orleans 2020 plan she announced last week Wednesday at an appearance in Medina.
Witryol said her “comprehensive economic development” plan for Orleans County would do more to provide economic benefits for Medina, Albion and other communities than her opponent, State Sen. George Maziarz, has accomplished.
“Combining all of our economic development, our tourism, our education and our agricultural strategies could have a tremendous impact on Orleans County’s image and ability to attract big investment that will translate into job creation and tax relief,” Witryol said.
Witryol focused her remarks Wednesday on the low-cost power allocations from the Niagara Power Project, which she said had not been equitably spread out beyond Buffalo and Niagara Falls. That’s in contrast to Maziarz’s message in an informational mailing to Orleans County residents that cited “tens of millions of additional dollars in economic development aid to create jobs in Orleans County communities” within 30 miles of the power project through the Western New York Power Proceeds bill.”
The allocation has provided low cost power to dozens of businesses in the area, including those in Medina. However, Witryol said that the county’s proximity to low-cost power is a resource that has not been adequately cultivated for Orleans County by it’s representatives in Albany during the process that “carves out” allocations for economic development uses.
“There’s no firm commitment, only the opportunity to compete,” Witryol said. “Niagara County and the Buffalo Outer Harbor received carve outs during the relicensing of the hydropower facility in Lewiston. My concern was that (Rep.) Brian Higgins fought for Buffalo, (former Assemblywoman) Francine DelMonte and Geroge Maziarz fought for Niagara Falls. No one stood up for Orleans County.”
Witryol said that placing Orleans County in both the Finger Lakes and Buffalo Niagara regional economic councils would also benefit local communities, by both putting the county in the middle of two plans and connecting Medina with like-minded communities in Middleport and Gasport.