Despite its small population and rural way of life, Yates County has been recognized for numerous economic development projects over the last several years.
While the county’s economic developer is justifiably proud of that recognition, he said there are still perception issues that prevent the county from reaching its full potential.
“People still view us as a poor, farming community,” Steve Griffin said during a presentation Monday to the Yates County Legislature at its monthly meeting. “Our wages and median income, while they have increased, are still well below the state average.”
Before his presentation, Griffin got a standing ovation from the Legislature and those in attendance for being named 2017 Economic Developer of the Year by the New York State Economic Development Council. Griffin has been president and CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC) — Yates County’s economic development agency — for about 11 years.
Griffin was honored for bringing in about 230 new projects to the county between 2009 and 2015. There have been many other since, and he told the Legislature there are about 40 active inquiries from companies looking to locate in the county.