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END TO TAX ABATEMENTS ON 15 PROJECTS CREDITED WITH A THIRD OF $56 MILLION ADDED TO TAX ROLLS

Amherst Industrial Development Agency projects coming on the tax rolls for the first time account for one-third of about $56 million in new assessed value in the town, officials said today.

Fifteen projects with a total assessed value of $19.1 million came out of agency title and on to the town's tax rolls between June 1, 1996, and last May 31, said James J. Allen, the agency's executive director.

Harry Williams, town assessor, said Monday the town apparently will add about $56 million, or 1.4 percent, to its tax base of $3.94 billion this year, although the numbers will not be official for some time.

Last year, the town's tax base declined by eight-tenths of 1 percent, the first decrease since World War II.

"In plain English, these 15 projects represent over $250,000 in tax revenue. It is evident the town's investment in (a) strategic economic development program is paying off," said Supervisor Susan J. Grelick, Amherst's chief fiscal executive.

Allen likened future agency projects to "money in the bank."

"Often, we don't know until a month in advance when a property will come out of Amherst IDA title, and, of course, assessed value can change over time; however, Amherst has 170 parcels currently under IDA title and, conservatively speaking, that translates to nearly $6.5 million in payments in lieu of taxes for 1998," with the town's share about $1 million, Allen said.

The Williamsville Central School District is the biggest benefactor of the 15 projects that have gone on the tax rolls in the past year.

Eleven projects, with a total taxable value of almost $16.8 million, are in the Williamsville district; three, valued at $1.5 million, are in the Sweet Home Central School District; and one, valued at $825,000, is in the Amherst Central School District, officials said.

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