Long Island BDC Meeting
Last week the LI BDC met at Montauk. Many of the usual attendees were there. Among the topics were, the Long Island economy, electric power supply and cost, workforce housing and the usual interests of the business development community.
This year there was a new interest in workforce housing. This is a sometimes controversial topic, but the business community sees this issue as the “brakes” on an otherwise healthy economy. The business community seems to be committed to solving a housing problem for the people in the workforce. People that would be considered “naturals” for home ownership in any other place but Long Island struggle to establish home ownership, or even find reasonably priced rentals. A recent grad starting work in a Long Island company has difficult time affording home ownership when the median home price in Nassau County is $435,000 and in Suffolk it is not that much less.
Workforce housing, according to Jim Morgo, the former president of the Housing Partnership, has had an impact on the problem by showing that quality housing can be provided at reasonable cost. If town and county agencies work together to solve the problem, the housing product can be produced.
The Long Island economy is, and has been, comparatively robust compared to other parts of the country and, according to economist Dr. Irwin Kelner, it does not show signs of weakness.
Electric power supply is being augmented by a new plant planned for Belport, and two new cables from New Jersey one of which has already been approved. Richard Kessel made that presentation. Kessel stated that the capacity margin for safety is 1000 megawatts more than we can reasonably expect to need on any given day, and we are not there yet.
Bob Catell made a presentation on the condition of the generating facilities, and they are functioning at an extremely high level of reliability despite the fact that much of the plant equipment is quite old. When asked why we don’t treat energy as a Homeland Security issue, Catell and Kessel suggested that energy issues should be dealt with on a national level to avoid state squabbles such as existed between NY & CT recently.