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The lure of development deals in neighboring counties may be draining northern Cattaraugus County of some small industrial businesses and is raising concerns about the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency's policies.

"We will encourage the IDA to look at smaller projects," said John Sayegh, director of the county's Economic Development Planning and Tourism Department.

He was responding to comments by Cattaraugus County Planning Board member William Sprague at the close of the board's meeting Thursday.

Sprague said he was concerned about several Yorkshire businesses that moved to Wyoming County after they were offered tempting deals there.

Sayegh said Planning Board members and staff will talk to county legislators about changing the Cattaraugus IDA's policies to make it as competitive as neighboring IDA's in attracting businesses and increasing the tax base.

Currently the Cattaraugus IDA does not fund industrial development projects worth less than $500,000 and has a risk-free policy, placing all responsibility with the business owner for securing loans and overseeing construction.

The Devin Machine Shop, a steel fabricator located until recently in Yorkshire, is one of the latest departures to Wyoming County. The owners first applied for industrial revenue bonds from the Cattaraugus IDA. The value of the deal, however, was less than the agency's $500,000 minimum.

In addition, the Cattaraugus IDA will not take on the responsibility of details such as constructing a building.

Sprague said another company, a rag processor located on McKinstry Street in Yorkshire for 3 1/2 years until it expanded a few weeks ago to a Route 16 warehouse in Yorkshire, may be the next to move to Wyoming County.

The firm is so successful that it has outgrown its new warehouse but has not expanded enough for Cattaraugus IDA backing for an addition.

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