By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO August 11, 2006 A meeting of the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency on Tuesday ended with no change in the organizations determination to give tax breaks and abatements to Catskill Dermatology, which is leaving its office in the Village of Monticello and moving to Bridgeville.
The business is pledging to build a larger facility in Bridgeville estimated to be assessed at $500,000 and add 8 new employees. The IDA would give the business, run by Steven Fishman, abatements on sales tax for the construction of the facility, as well as mortgage tax abatements. In addition, the practice would only pay half of its property taxes in the first year, then on a sliding scale for the next nine years.
The move has been opposed by the majority of the Town of Thompson Board. IDA CEO Allan Scott met two days in a row with Supervisor Anthony Cellini in an attempt to make the deal work. But on Wednesday, Cellini said he would not change his mind.
The breaks would cost the town more than $7,000 in tax revenue, although it would also add new tax revenue. The county would also gain tax revenue, but only a fraction of what it would earn without the abatements.
At the board meeting, Scott said the IDA had made a commitment to the project, although he said it was possible to scale back the project or not approve it at all. Scott had talks with Cellini about only giving sales and mortgage tax breaks for the building.
IDA board member Harris Alport inquired as to whether the project could still go forward without the approval of the town. Scott declined to answer that question publicly.
IDA Vice Chairman Harold Gold said the IDA should be careful about getting into a conflict with the town. Scott said the town was supportive at first.
Gold also recommended a policy decision be made about giving tax breaks to businesses that move from one part of the town to another.
IDA board member Ed Sykes said he believed the issue was based on a misunderstanding, as did Chairman Sam Wohl.
The public hearing will be held at the County Government Center in Monticello at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Cellini has pledged to attend and speak at the hearing.
In Other Business
The IDA has also been busy assisting victims of last Junes floods. Scott has been in discussions with the IGA Mart in Roscoe, the Roscoe Motel, the owners of the Cochecton Post Office and a number of other businesses along local rivers which incurred significant flood damage. About a dozen applications have been sent to businesses along the Delaware River corridor to receive IDA assistance, said Scott.
Scott said businesses could be given sales tax abatements to rebuild or full-scale IDA assistance.
In other IDA business, the Town of Tusten is applying to the New York State Department of Transportation to build a railroad crossing. The IDA is the conduit between the two. The town is also seeking to install a new flash switch light to alert motorists to approaching rail traffic.
Another public hearing will be held on August 22 at the Mamakating Town Hall on a proposed Dunkin Donuts and office building on Route 209 before MacDonald Road. The project has not yet been approved by the Town Planning Board.
The site has been the subject of a dispute between developer Paul Haber and property owner Les Wolf. Wolf contends that he has a right-of-way through the land Haber is seeking to develop. Wolf has also accused Haber of knocking trees onto his powerlines during initial construction, which has since been halted.
IDA officials said they would not approve the project until at least October. They said the IDA is not obligated to wait until the planning board approves a project before granting them tax breaks, but no decision has yet been made.