The Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency is trying to improve communications about payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreements, which are offered as incentives to developers.
A recent state audit looked at 11 projects undertaken in 2003 and 2004 by the county IDA and five other Western New York IDAs. The state comptroller also looked at the taxing entities' records to check the accuracy of the tax bills. It found tax bill errors by local taxing authorities in seven of the 11 projects.
CCIDA Executive Director Norm Leyh, meeting Thursday with the agency's Board of Directors, said the errors sometimes favored a local government or a school board, but other times favored the developer.
"As a result of the comptroller's audit there were problems identified, and the biggest is communication," Leyh said. "And the schools and entities have to be awake and communicate more."
CCIDA bond counsel George Cregg Jr. said he will be simplifying the PILOT agreement language and creating a summary checklist for the CCIDA and the local taxing authorities to follow for accuracy, along with an annual list of active PILOTs.
In keeping with the comptroller's recommendation that the CCIDA should review all tax bills, Cregg said the agency should work with the taxing entities to ensure accuracy in billing.