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MAYOR ASKS INPUT ON ZONE EXPANSION

Mayor James P. Griffin asked aldermen meeting in a Tuesday night work session for ideas on expanding the boundaries on the Cattaraugus Economic Development Zone.

He said the Economic Development Zone Corp. is calling for a recommendation from the city, the Town of Olean, the Town of Allegany and Cattaraugus County before public meetings tentatively scheduled for 2 and 7:30 p.m. April 30.

The meetings are designed to solicit testimony on an Economic Development Zone proposal from St. Bonaventure University and will include input on other community-expansion ideas. Written comments also will be accepted until May 19 on the boundary expansion.

Griffin said the university wants to move forward on developing a section of the zone under its control, but he did not reveal specific details. In addition, he said the Town of Allegany has expressed a desire to extend its portion of the zone west into the area of the Southern Tier Expressway exit and the Central Tractor retail store.

Alderman Gary "Casey" Jones said he is in favor of opening up the zone to eliminate the perception that some businesses operate under an unfavored advantage.

Griffin told aldermen the city holds the option of offering businesses one or more benefits such as tax abatement, utility-cost breaks, income-tax credit for training, training grants, and other items.

"Are there areas of the city that we want to enhance and grow?" Griffin asked alderman.

Plans on the expansion must first be approved by the three municipalities, the county and the state.

According to a timetable, the municipalities' review and approval of the expansion could be completed and sent to the county by the end of August. The county would then ask the state for an amendment on Oct. 3, with a final decision to come on Dec. 3.

In a related matter, aldermen unanimously supported Economic Development Zone certification for Rontina of New York Inc. Final approval will come from the Common Council.