By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Last week’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Board meeting featured unanimous acceptance of two grants once overseen by the Ag Local Development Corporation (LDC), pertaining to the red meat processing plant proposed for Liberty.
Minutes before, the Ag LDC Board had met, now consisting of all the IDA Board members in order to gain a quorum (only three original LDC board members remained).
As the intent is to extinguish the LDC, the grants (totalling $225,000) had to be moved to the IDA, which itself already administers three slaughterhouse-related grants.
The LDC will be dissolved in the next few months, said IDA Board Chairman Ira Steingart, after its other asset the Cheesemobile is sold.
Narrowsburg resident Star Hesse again asked the IDA to consider Temple Grandin’s well-known “humane slaughtering” method at the new facility.
IDA Attorney Walter Garigliano replied that the exterior design of the slaughterhouse will incorporate that method, but the interior design remains dependent on who ultimately becomes the operator.
A package for the Lodge
The IDA also approved tax abatements for the Lodge at Rock Hill, which is being sold to Butch Resnick and his RHH Land company.
The agreement provides RHH with a $125,000 property tax abatement and $17,000 mortgage tax abatement over the course of the next decade.
Resnick intends to reopen the 74-room hotel this summer.
A New look at Millennium
At the urging of IDA Board member Charlie Barbuti, the committee initially tasked with determining how to use a coming $1 million from the Millennium Pipeline Company will be resurrected.
An agreement struck between the IDA and Millennium when it built a gas transmission pipeline through the county means the IDA is getting $100,000 a year from Millennium.
A committee of the IDA recently suggested offering those monies in a revolving loan fund, but Barbuti noted that $225,000 the entire fund’s current amount is sitting unused.
“I don’t think money in the bank is the way we do economic development,” he remarked. “We’ve got to get this into play.”
Garigliano, however, said many of the fund’s applicants don’t qualify, either because they don’t meet the creditworthiness threshold or they refuse to create a required business plan.
“The whole point is we want this to be sustainable and maybe even grow,” explained IDA Board member Ed Sykes, “and we can’t do that if we just give it away.”
Barbuti urged more marketing of the fund, but Steingart replied, “I don’t think it’s our mission statement to go out and get these people.… I think it’s the Partnership [for Economic Development’s] role.”
Nevertheless, IDA CEO Allan Scott said he does make presentations on the fund, and Garigliano said $8,000 of every $100,000 is earmarked for administrative costs, which can include marketing expenses.
“You’re only going to get what you put out there,” observed IDA Board member Suzanne Rhulen-Loughlin.
Garigliano insisted most applicants don’t qualify.
“If you can see the quality of some of the applicants we get,” he noted, “you’d understand.”
Regardless, the Millennium Committee will meet again to see if the requirements can be relaxed further.