A small employment agency got permission Monday night to move from Cheektowaga to Buffalo's Empire Zone, but the larger Robinson Home Products will have to wait for the town's consent.
The Cheektowaga Town Board approved the move of Construction Personnel Group from Genesee Street in Cheektowaga to Niagara Street in Buffalo. The company employs four staffers and wanted to move from its 700 square feet of rented office space.
Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak said Construction Personnel Group was looking for a small amount of space and the owner wants to consolidate his businesses under one roof.
"You don't like to see any business leave town," Gabryszak said. "While I'm reluctant, I think it's something we should do."
But giving permission for the larger Robinson Home Products to move from Walden Avenue to the former Buffalo China plant on Bailey Avenue was another matter.
"We should have discussion in a work session on whether the benefit should be applied to Robinson," Gabryszak said.
Under state law, the municipality losing a business to an Empire Zone must conduct a public hearing and give formal consent for the company to receive the economic incentives such zones provide. The town conducted public hearings for both companies Feb. 6.
Two council members voted against giving the town's consent for Construction Personnel Group to move to Buffalo. It will be the fourth Cheektowaga company to make the move to the economic development zone.
"Clearly he did not meet the test. He is moving solely for the Empire Zone incentives," said Council Member Thomas M. Johnson Jr.
Johnson said he has not seen evidence that the firm searched for comparable space in Cheektowaga, which is one of the criteria looked at by the town.
"There's plenty of places with 5,000 square feet," Council Member James P. Rogowski told The Buffalo News following the meeting.
Rogowski also voted against the move. He said the company could have found space in town and should stay until its lease is up.
If Cheektowaga denies Robinson Home Products, it won't be the first time. The town never gave permission for Network Task Group to move to the Seneca Industrial Center in 2002. A company partner said that despite repeated requests, Cheektowaga never did supply him the necessary paperwork approving the move, and the company could not take advantage of the tax incentives.