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Politics and Government

Protesters want City of Syracuse, COR to negotiate to resolve lawsuit

Tom Magnarelli
Protesters from the Urban Jobs Task Force outside of the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency's offices Tuesday.

The city of Syracuse filed a lawsuit against the COR Development Company after it made a tax deal with Onondaga County for its redevelopment project in the city’s Inner Harbor. Protesters are calling on the two sides to negotiate before a ruling is made in state Supreme Court.

Protesters with the Urban Jobs Task Force in Syracuse want 25 percent of the 1,000 construction jobs expected from the Inner Harbor project to go to low-income city residents.

 “A job is dignity, a job gives you hope,” Louise Poindexter, one of the protesters, said.

In the current agreement COR made with the county, they will be getting tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks. The city lawsuit said COR promised not to seek those tax breaks.

Aggie Lane the president of the task force said they have been working for years to come up with a community benefits agreement that they feel is fair and COR could accept. She has met with the Onondaga County Legislature chairman and had state Sen. John Defrancisco (R-Syracuse) call COR on their behalf, she said only to be continually dismissed on the jobs issue.

“It’s time that we put aside our differences for the sake of the struggling city resident; residents looking for meaningful work or decent contracts,” Lane said. "The bitterness this controversy has stirred up is unhealthy."

The task force wrote a letter to Judge James Murphy asking him to direct the two sides to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency did pass a resolution to track the jobs, giving some data on the payrolls, ethnicity, gender and location of hired workers. They also agreed that a significant amount of the fees from COR would go to the city. The two sides will be at a hearing on the matter Wednesday in court.