Sorting through regional economic development grants, Cuomo says he talked with the feds, questions about Albany trash fee, Amazon eyeing Green Island warehouse

Regional Economic Development Council money
+ Capital Region projects were awarded $83.1 million collectively in grants and other assistance -- here's a list of the projects. [AOA]
+ Since 2011 when the new arrangement for distributing state money started, Capital Region projects have been awarded $437.1 million -- the second-lowest total of any region. [TU]
+ A few more details on "The Mill Artisan District" mixed-use project in Schenectady that was awarded $2.3 million. [Daily Gazette]
+ Notably not among the Cap Region awards: money for the Palace's planned expansion. Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan said they need to find out what reviewers thought was missing about the project. [TU]
+ Albany Med president James Barba, co-chair of the Capital Region Economic Development Council, on how the council reviews projects: "There are three council priorities in this order; jobs, jobs, jobs." [TWCN]

Corruption investigation
+ Andrew Cuomo said Thursday following the REDC award announcements that he has talked with the feds as part of the corruption investigation involving former top aide Joe Percoco and former SUNY Poly president Alain Kaloyeros -- and a spokesperson said he had done so voluntarily. [TU] [TWCN]
+ Kaloyeros is still on unpaid leave from his faculty position at SUNY Poly -- and officials won't say whether they're moving to fire him. [TU+]

Troy budget crunch
Troy City Council president Carmella Mantello said she's "cautiously optimistic" after mayor Patrick Madden's latest budget offer, which includes a tax increase of 14.5 percent. Madden said the cuts in the proposed plan -- including the layoffs of nine jobs -- were the result of "very careful and painstaking analysis." [Troy Record] [TWCN]

Albany trash fee
The Albany Common Council hasn't approved the trash fee for multi-unit residences (up to four units) for 2017 -- and that calls into question what happens if it doesn't. [TU+]

More than $800k allegedly embezzled
Albany police say a bookkeeper at an Albany marketing firm has been arrested and accused of stealing almost $836k from the business over seven years. [TU]

Sentencing in disability benefits case
A former USPS employee from Delmar was sentenced to a year in prison for fraudulently collecting $430k in disability benefits -- she had claimed her back kept her from doing any sort of manual labor, but she was witnessed mowing her lawn and shoveling snow. [TU]

Amazon eyeing Green Island warehouse
Amazon wants to use a warehouse in Green Island as a distribution center for its Amazon Flex delivery service. [Biz Review]

Circle Diner
The Circle Diner in Latham has been sold. [Biz Review]

Peter Pause owner dies
Dean Plakas -- the owner of the Peter Pause Restaurant and Newest Lunch in Schenectady -- was found dead in the restaurant Wednesday. He was 37 years old and set to get married this weekend. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Robert Blood
Robert Blood of Niskayuna -- whose sculptures are on display at many locations around the area -- has died at age 93. [TU]

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The City should take a more proactive approach based on neighborhood consensus. A prescriptive design guideline with great clarity could save lots of graves for aspiring developers and other stakeholders. The City has to be clear upfront on conditions to be met such as overall allowed building volume, easy river connection, parking, pedestrian oriented ground floor usage and etc. It not seems reasonable to expect commercial developers to build something on their own initiative to both maximize ROI and please all city residents.

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