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Credit union seeks 100% permanent IDA tax break

The North Tonawanda Community Federal Credit Union is asking for a 100 percent permanent property tax exemption for its new location at Ward Road and Oliver Street.

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency's Project Review Committee accepted the request Wednesday, but IDA Marketing and Project Manager Susan C. Langdon said the agency cannot grant the permanent tax exemption unless the City of North Tonawanda goes along with the idea.

"We're hesitant to go forward," said IDA attorney Mark J. Gabriele.

Thus, for the time being, the IDA will officially be considering a 10-year tax break, which is the longest the agency's policies permit for a commercial applicant.

Langdon said the credit union plans to meet with the North Tonawanda Common Council and Mayor Lawrence V. Soos in an upcoming work session to discuss its request. Council President Brett M. Sommer said the topic probably will come up during the Council's next work session at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. He said he has not been approached by the credit union.

Morris Horwitz, attorney for the credit union, said other credit unions have received IDA assistance. Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union in Lockport and Greater Niagara Federal Credit Union in the Town of Niagara received tax breaks to construct new buildings, Horwitz said.

The North Tonawanda credit union, in business at 416 Oliver St. since 1977, plans to move to the former Thiele Dairy store at 160 Ward Road. The 1,800-square-foot vacant building, which the credit union already has purchased for $126,824, will offer a drive-through window. About $250,000 is to be invested in renovating the building.

The credit union's current work force of four full-timers and one part-timer is to be increased to six full-timers and three part-timers within three years, according to the application.

The Project Review Committee also accepted a request for a 15-year property tax break on Tortel Communications' new plant on Lockport Road at the front of the IDA-owned industrial park, Vantage International Pointe.

The 15,000-square-foot plant for repairing and refurbishing communications and office equipment is to be built on a 2.78-acre parcel of land Tortel bought from the IDA last month.

Tortel would make $182,000 worth of payments in lieu of taxes during the 15 years. It expects to create 32 jobs during the first three years of operation.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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