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PRESS RELEASE: ECIDA Board Approves Tax Incentives for three projects

Thu, Aug 21st 2014 03:00 pm
$1.6 million in tax breaks will generate $41 million in investment
Buffalo, NY— The Erie County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors approved tax abatements Tuesday for three projects, generating $41 million of private investment in Erie County.
                The Board unanimously approved $183,000 in sales tax savings for Cameron Compression, for a $6.5 million expansion of testing stations and installation of a new cooling tower at its Cheektowaga location.
Houston-based Cameron Compression provides flow equipment products, systems and services to the oil and gas industry.  The Cheektowaga plant manufactures, assembles and tests compressors.
The improvements will allow the company to separate the electrical service from its existing 6,500 horsepower and 11,000 horsepower test stands, which will allow the company to test on both stands at the same time. 
Requirements of the incentive package include hiring ninety percent of its labor from the eight-county region, retaining one hundred percent of the base employment (584 jobs) with average wages at $66,800.  Recapture provisions could mean a claw back of the Sales Tax incentive.
"Job retention is just as critical as job creation for a healthy regional economy," said ECIDA President and CEO Steve Weathers. "We need to ensure the retention of existing jobs wherever possible for solid, long-term growth in the manufacturing sector."
ConServe, a Cheektowaga student loan collection agency, applied and was unanimously approved for $122,500 in sales tax savings to help leverage their move to the former Appletree Mall facility.  The company, which will invest $1,190,000 in the new offices, needed a larger space and more parking to accommodate their current one hundred workers and add forty more jobs in its Buffalo area office. The sales tax breaks will be applied to office furniture, equipment, phone systems, computers and servers for the new location.
ConServe representatives noted that the average wages for their employees are more than $50,000 annually with bonuses. The estimated State and regional benefits that will be paid by ConServe during the next ten years total $3.3 million in sales and income tax.
"ConServe is an excellent example of a service company's commitment to retaining and creating high-paying jobs in Western New York.  They offer benefits and long-term employment, and helping them grow their workforce by forty percent is a win-win for the Town of Cheektowaga and Erie County," said Cheektowaga Town Supervisor and ECIDA Board Member  Mary F. Holtz.
Unifrax, a Tonawanda-based manufacturer of high-temperature installation products, was unanimously approved for $1.3 million in tax savings for a $33 million project.  Unifrax plans to purchase buildings that it currently leases, and expand its facility to connect its current manufacturing plant with its warehouse, and purchase and install equipment.  The project is expected to create twenty-five jobs, retain ninety-five jobs, and create twenty-three construction jobs.  The tax savings break down as follows:
Property Tax Savings:                     $768,666
Sales Tax Savings:                       $370,125
Mortgage Tax Savings               $130,000
                "$1.3 million in tax reductions allows Unifrax to leverage and invest more than $33 million in a new manufacturing facility," said Weathers.  "It is important to consider the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) will bring $26,000 in revenue to Erie County, $73,000 to the Town of Tonawanda, and $100,000 to the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District, in addition to the twenty-five new jobs that will be created."
The ECIDA Board also unanimously approved the lease of its former office located at 143 Genesse Street to Kideney Architects, PC.  The architectural firm was the winning of three bids for the property, which was left vacant after the ECIDA relocated to the Cobblestone District.  Since the ECIDA owns the building and as a nonprofit is exempt from property taxes, the ECIDA elected to make a voluntary annual PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) of $17,407 to the City of Buffalo and $3,409 to the County to ensure the communities receive their share of property tax revenue from the building.
The Erie County Industrial Development Agency is a public benefit corporation sanctioned by the State of New York to offer tax incentives to qualified businesses, and is dedicated to furthering economic development, adaptive reuse of qualified properties, job creation and ensuring a thriving business environment in Erie County. The staff of the ECIDA are not employees of the City of Buffalo, the County of Erie, or the State of New York. The ECIDA does not receive operating funds from taxpayer revenues. The ECIDA receives its operating funds by collecting fees from businesses that enter into contracts with the Agency, from investments, and from loan fees. 

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