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The Niagara County Legislature last week redirected a $200,000 loan from one local company that is not expanding to one that is.

The loan was given to Candlelight Cabinetry, a kitchen and bathroom cabinetmaker that plans to move this year from its current plant on Frost Street in Lockport to the former Corson Manufacturing Co. facility at Park Avenue and Michigan Street.

In all, Candlelight's move and the renovation of the Corson plant, which once produced cardboard boxes, is projected to cost about $1.88 million. The company's 91-member work force is projected to increase to 175 within three years, according to information given to the Lockport Common Council in December.

Company President John Yakich did not return a call for an update Friday.

The $200,000 was available when Mayer Bros. of Somerset, for whom the money had been earmarked in 1999, underwent a management change and dropped plans for a $1.22 million expansion of its fruit-processing plant in Somerset.

Gary Kelsey, manager of finance for the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, said a substitute use had to be found for the money, which was part of a $600,000 small cities grant the county received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The other $400,000 was plowed into the construction of a new multitenant building at Vantage Internation Pointe, the former Inducon Industrial Park in Wheatfield. That building will include a new headquarters for the IDA.

Candlelight, which has outgrown its current plant, is receiving the leftover money as part of a total $250,000 loan from Niagara County Development Corp., an arm of the IDA. Kelsey said that it is a seven-year loan at 5.5 percent interest.

The city's Greater Lockport Development Corp. lent Candlelight $450,000 for seven years at 3 percent per year.

Most of the remainder of the company's financing comes from a bank loan, Kelsey said.

Candlelight was founded in 1990 with 19 workers.

In other action during last week's meeting, the Legislature awarded a $17,000 contract to the auditing firm of Deloitte & Touche to update the actuarial analysis of the county's workers' compensation pool by including the last two years of claims.

Risk and Insurance Services Coordinator Rodger D. Smith said, "It will bring up to date the actuarial review of the reserves of the workers' compensation pool, which we were using to calculate the withdrawal fee for North Tonawanda."

That city was sued by the county over the amount that had to be paid to pull out of the pool, which includes almost all municipalities in the county. Some other communities have also tried to withdraw.

County Attorney Claude A. Joerg said that a revised law to lower the fee for such pullouts is expected to be submitted to the Legislature's Human Resources Committee in March.

Also, the Legislature approved the water district's plan to use $270,000 of its surplus to refurbish one of its huge water-treatment tanks at the Liberty Drive pumping plant in Wheatfield.

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