Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan Announces Action to Save More Than 140 Jobs in 14 Businesses From Tech City Utility Shutdown

Posted December 20, 2019

County, Town and Corporate Assistance offers lifeline and defers electric shutoff following Landlord Alan Ginsberg’s failure to pay utility bills

AT&T Agrees to Assume Payments for All Electric Usage at the Site

KINGSTON, N.Y. – Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan today announced plans and a backup county assistance package, working with the Town of Ulster government, Empire State Development and utility Central Hudson, saving more than 140 jobs and 14 businesses from shutting down following the inaction of the Tech City landlord and the imminent threat of electric utility shutoff to the entire site.

Businesses located at the Tech City former industrial complex in the Town of Ulster were notified two weeks ago by energy utility Central Hudson of the imminent shutdown late this week of power to the entire complex due to the long-term failure of landlord Alan Ginsberg to pay overdue electric bills. This week, following extensive discussions between County Executive Ryan’s administration, Central Hudson executives and businesses located at the Tech City complex, plans were solidified to keep the power on.

AT&T, which provides mobile telecommunications services from a tower at Tech City, agreed to take over responsibility of electric usage charges on site, keeping the power on for all other businesses currently operating there. The agreement will enable the businesses to fulfill holiday season orders and continue working with Ryan’s Department of Economic Development to potentially secure new locations for long-term continued operations and the retention of the more than 140 employees at those businesses.

“Alan Ginsberg has failed to pay his taxes, he has failed to cleanup environmental issues that he has caused, and now he has failed to provide basic services to his own tenants,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “I want to thank Supervisor Quigley, AT&T and Central Hudson for partnering with us to ensure that the over 140 people will continue to have work during the holidays. As I said from the moment that I took office, I will continue to prioritize turning around the Tech City property and returning it into the economic asset that it once was.”

AT&T Project Manager Timothy Connelly said, “AT&T was happy to help in this difficult situation by working with the tenants of Tech City to keep their lights on during the holidays.  We applaud County Executive Ryan and his team for collaborating with us in our efforts to save jobs and help local businesses in a time of need.  AT&T is proud of our business roots in the local community and it brings us great joy and pride to support fellow businesses.”

Central Hudson Spokesman John Maserjian said, “Central Hudson has been working diligently with Ulster County, the Town of Ulster, the Public Service Commission and business tenants at the site to maintain utility services to the extent possible, preserving more than 140 jobs during this holiday season. We continue to work with the tenants and others to identify creative ways to overcome the challenges this site presents. We’re happy to have reached this newest arrangement.”

Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley said, “The Town has worked diligently with Ulster County government and Central Hudson and we are pleased that together we are able to continue to deliver on successes and ensure jobs remain in the community.”

“I’d like to thank the Ryan administration and Supervisor Quigley for their willingness to help our business and thirteen others here at Tech City,” said John Parker, owner of JSP Plumbing and Heating, which employs 35 people at the Tech City campus and anticipates significant expansion in 2020. “They demonstrated a commitment not just to keeping the lights on but to keeping more than 140 people employed.”

“During this very stressful and difficult time, I'm so grateful for the hard work County Executive Ryan and the Ulster County Department of Economic Development have offered” said John Burkhart, owner of File Fish, a film production company. “His administration’s efforts not only eased some of the pain, but they stepped in to help us tenants and business owners with support and options so that we can continue our work.  Priceless!”

“As a small, specialty manufacturer we really had no good options on where to go, and we were devastated by the thought of closing down our operation just before the holiday season,” said Hal Marcus, owner of Visual Color Systems. “We want to thank the Ryan administration, the Town of Ulster and many others for all the work they did to help find a solution to an untenable situation.”

Business tenants at Tech City, which receive power through a single industrial meter system from Central Hudson, were first notified of imminent electric shutoff in April following months of non-payment by Ginsberg, the site’s landlord. Shortly after, one of the corporate tenants agreed to take over responsibility of the bills for all tenants. That business since moved out and Central Hudson notified all other tenants anew of an imminent shutdown this week unless a business could take over the account on behalf of the entire site.

Following the most recent notice from the utility, County Executive Ryan’s Office of Economic Development worked with business tenants to determine a short-term solution while assisting them in locating new facilities for their operations. Initially, JSP Plumbing and Heating, with a commitment from the Ulster County Revolving Loan Fund Committee and Economic Development Alliance for a short-term bridge loan to defray initial costs, agreed to take on responsibility for electric usage payments temporarily until their planned move this spring to a new location in the Town of Ulster. AT&T’s subsequent agreement superseded that short-term plan.

Legislator Brian Woltman, Chairman of the Ulster County Revolving Loan Fund Committee, said, “I am pleased the committee voted unanimously to assist businesses located at Tech City who, through no fault of their own, were threatened to have their electric service extinguished.”

Legislator Lynn Archer, Deputy Chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Economic Development, said, “I am thrilled that we as a County were able to step up and ensure that these businesses remain open. We are committed to continuing to work to ensure that this property is economically viable for our future.”