Ask anyone who lived in Elmira for years, even decades, they tell you how much industry there was inElmira’ss heyday.
Companies like General Electric and American LaFrance had factories in the city.
Those companies are now a thing of Elmira’s past. Some said they think it is policies put in place that have a long-lasting impact.
“Normally when a new business comes in they get a tax break, they shouldn’t,” Richard Halstead, an Elmira resident, said. “Everybody gets a big tax break for 10 years. When their 10 years is up, they’re gone! They could care less about the community.”
Elmira still has a manufacturing industry with companies such as Kennedy Valve and Howell Packaging.
Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss said attention should be brought elsewhere, specifically small businesses that are independently owned.
“I think we need to concentrate on smaller businesses. One of the complaints I hear, ‘you know we have these pilot programs for the businesses that move in and get big tax incentives and then leave the area,'” Moss said. “What about the mom-and-pop stores, the individuals that own two or three businesses in the area?”
Moss said his administration is looking at ways on helping those small businesses. Some ideas he mentioned are helping them expand or helping them open new businesses.
In 2016, Elmira received $10 million in state money to redevelop the downtown area. Construction for the new LECOM Medical School is also underway. The new school is expected to bring in new business into Elmira.