Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Legislature committee backs MCC contracts

But other committees, and the full Lej, must also consider them.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Without any debate, a County Legislature committee passed legislation last night awarding design and construction management contracts for Monroe Community College's new downtown campus. 

The project is one of many caught in a standoff between Democratic and Republican legislators. Democrats are holding up a large borrowing measure, which includes $44 million for the MCC project. The legislation requires yes votes from at least two-thirds of legislators to pass, and Republicans can't meet that threshold on their own.

Dems are holding up the borrowing because they want Republicans to work with them to bring an internal investigation into county-linked local development corporations under the Legislature's oversight. The county administration is currently overseeing that review, but Dems say that's a clear conflict of interest. Earlier this week, Republican legislators shot down a Democratic proposal to form a Legislature committee to oversee the internal investigation.

Republicans have said that Democrats could delay the MCC project by holding up the borrowing measure. But the Dems say the project shouldn't be delayed, especially since construction is still a ways off. They've pointed to the legislation considered last night to prove their point: $24 million from previous borrowing remains available and the design and construction management contracts that the legislation awarded have total costs of approximately $7 million. So the project is proceeding, Dems say, despite the conflict over the bonding plan. 

"We're very happy that this went through without objection," Democratic Legislator Joe Morelle Jr., said after the meeting.

Two other committees still have to weigh in on the legislation, which they'll do tonight. And the measure must be put to a vote in the full Legislature.

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