SENECA FALLS — Final approval was unanimously given Thursday by the Board of Directors of the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency to a financial incentive package for Seneca Dairy Systems in Romulus.

A package containing a $1.48 million Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement, an exemption from paying an estimated $1.3 million in sales tax and a $90,000 exemption from paying the mortgage recording tax will help move the $20 million project forward. The IDA will lease the facilities from owner Earl Martin and lease it back to Martin in order to qualify for the sales tax exemption.

All that remains before construction can begin is approval of the site plan and a special use permit from the Romulus Planning Board.

“He’s hoping to get that approval in early November. Earl can start site work in early spring, but maybe earlier if the weather cooperates,” said Bob Aronson, IDA executive director, after the vote.

A cost versus benefits analysis of the project shows that there would be $64 in financial benefits to the town, county and state for every $1 of financial incentives provided. The State Environmental Quality Review Act process concluded the project would not cause significant harm to the environment.

“Earl is being wooed aggressively by other states to locate his plant in their states, so we should also be aggressive in keeping him here,” Aronson said.

SDS manufactures steel fencing, gates and stalls for the dairy industry. The new plant will include a new, state-of-the-art galvanizing plant.

Aronson said the state also is pitching in with a grant and other financial incentives to keep the project in Romulus.

“It looks like Earl will be able to accelerate his job creation to 98 jobs in the first five years,” he said.

Voting for the package were board members Steve Brusso, Tom Macinski, Valerie Bassett, Menzo Case, Jeff Shipley, Erica Paolicelli and Don Trout.

Martin was selected by the IDA to buy 7,000 acres of the former Seneca Army Depot, owned by the IDA after the depot closed in 2000. The IDA used a competitive bid process and Martin was chosen from 19 bidders, buying it for $990,0000. He allows Seneca White Deer to use about 3,000 acres. SDS will use about 75 acres and the rest is available for future development.

Martin also will continue to operate his existing plant, called Seneca Iron Works, in Fayette.

In other action, the board:

• Unanimously approved the sale of 10.4 acres owned by the IDA in Deer Run Corporate Park on Auburn Road, Seneca Falls, to James Saik for $85,496. Saik wants to relocate his Agronomics fertilizer and seed company into new facilities on the parcel.

The sale is subject to a development agreement calling for Saik to develop the land within two years or it will revert back to the IDA, and Saik will get his money back.

• Adopted 2020 budgets for the IDA, the Economic Development Corporation and the Seneca County Funding Corporation; they will soon be posted on a state website.

• Discussed the draft economic development strategic plan for the county. Once the public comment period ends Nov. 1, a final plan will be developed and a campaign begun to implement the plan.

• Noted a state requirement that all IDA board meetings and hearings be live-streamed on the internet, starting Jan. 1.

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