Dan Hust | Democrat
Legislature, IDA and Town of Fallsburg representatives gathered inside the Government Center in Monticello Tuesday to discuss the IDA’s projects and tax abatement policies. More public meetings are coming.
Tax abatements under scrutiny
By Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY March 8, 2013 Per state statute and its own rules, the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is holding a series of public meetings to discuss both its projects and its tax abatement policies.
A committee of legislators and IDA officials met for the first round on Tuesday. Town of Fallsburg and Village of Woodridge leaders were invited to talk about IDA efforts in their municipalities, but only Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Vegliante attended.
He was asked by the IDA if he was happy with its involvement in his township.
“I’m very unhappy at this point,” Vegliante replied. “We only have four [IDA] projects. ... Bring it on!”
In other words, Vegliante wants more IDA involvement.
“Anything we can do to attract business.… We need jobs,” he explained. “We want as much business as we can get.”
Officials recognize, however, that such a welcome reception may not be universal, as the IDA’s tax abatements can be controversial.
Indeed, legislators debated it during the meeting, with Cindy Gieger expressing concern about tax breaks given to businesses that are not likely to leave the county if they don’t get those breaks i.e., ones that seek abatements for expansion.
“Can there be a cap on something?” she wondered. “Make a different policy for expansions. You don’t have to give them the whole boat.”
IDA Attorney Walter Garigliano pointed out that uniform tax abatement policies are a requirement and cited a study saying the majority of new jobs in America are created via expanding businesses.
The discussion continued, switching to zoning and job creation issues, among other topics.
Here’s the complete list of upcoming meetings (all of which will be held at the Government Center in Monticello and are open to the public):
• Tuesday, March 12 at noon townships of Forestburgh, Highland, Lumberland and Tusten
• Tuesday, March 19 at 11 a.m. townships of Liberty (not the village), Neversink and Rockland
• Tuesday, March 26 at 11 a.m. townships of Callicoon, Cochecton, Delaware and Fremont, and the Village of Jeffersonville
• Tuesday, April 2 at 1 p.m. townships of Bethel and Thompson
• Tuesday, April 9 at noon villages of Liberty and Monticello
• Tuesday, April 16 at noon township of Mamakating and villages of Bloomingburg and Wurtsboro.
For more information including a complete list of current projects visit www.sullivanida.com or call the IDA at 295-2603.