By Jeanne Sager
MONTICELLO February 22, 2005 The Central New York Railroad has a green light in Sullivan County.
The Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) met Friday morning to discuss tax abatements requested by the upstate railroad company.
A unanimous vote by the members present Ed Sykes, Joyce Salimeno, Charlie Barbuti and Louis Alport guarantees the company will receive a reduction in real estate taxes for the tracks that run through the towns of Fremont, Delaware, Cochecton and Tusten.
Its a conditional approval, said IDA counsel Walter Garigliano, provided the company gets a similar tax reduction from Broome and Delaware counties.
That approval already came through in Delaware, Garigliano said, and the Broome IDA is set to meet on the matter Thursday.
Theyre cautiously optimistic, Garigliano said of the last holdout. Those were the words their executive director used.
It wont be as easy as it was here.
Central New York, which is leasing the 123-mile Norfolk Southern line which runs through all three counties, was asking the counties to enact an abatement program already approved by the New York State Legislature.
The Legislatures plan would go into effect in 2009; the railroad company was hoping local municipalities would accelerate that to help them cut costs and put money back into maintaining the track.
The company, which finalized a deal to lease the track in December, has been pressing the IDAs to make a decision before March 1 New Yorks taxable status day.
A decision after that date would be moot, railroad officials have said, because the company would be subject to whatever taxes were in effect as of March 1.
As of last week, when the Sullivan County IDA held public hearings on the matter in the four towns affected, the company wasnt optimistic about the project if tax breaks werent granted.