Dan Hust | Democrat
As seen from Route 17, Ideal Snacks has already incorporated the former Liberty Lanes bowling alley into its expanding presence along Mill Street in Liberty.
Ideal gets OK
Story by Frank Rizzo
LIBERTY On Monday, the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) voted to extend sales tax and real estate tax abatements to Liberty snack manufacturer Ideal Snacks.
The vote came after a public hearing at the Liberty Town Hall.
Ideal expects to hire 50 additional workers at its Mill St. location in Liberty by building two two-story warehouses totaling 106,000 square feet next to its existing 250,000-square-foot facility. The project includes the former Liberty Lanes bowling alley.
The IDA’s independent cost-benefit analysis by Tom Shepstone of Shepstone Management Co. lists the total value of the abatements at just over $2.5 million for the next 20 years. Shepstone estimated the expansion will have an overall benefit to the community of more than $10 million.
Four previous Ideal expansions dating back to 2003 have been routed through the IDA. The company had payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) of $345,964 in 2011.
All the IDA board members voted for the breaks, with the exception of Town of Liberty Supervisor Charlie Barbuti (abstained) and Sandy Shaddock the Teamsters Local 445 union’s business agent in Sullivan County who voted no.
Shaddock was concerned about the quality of the jobs being offered by companies that the IDA assists. Her views were echoed by other speakers, who noted the “low wages” offered the mainly immigrant workforce at Ideal.
In comments to the Democrat last week, Michael Ehrenberg, Ideal’s CPA and liaison to the IDA, noted the 50 new workers will be paid competitive wages and benefits but would not divulge specifics.
“We have 450 employees here already,” he said. “We probably get 5-10 people coming every day to our front office looking for jobs.”