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INCENTIVES FOR CALL CENTER ON CITY AGENDA

The City Council on Monday will consider several economic development initiatives, including incentives for TeleTech Holdings Inc. and economic development zone status for Forest Glen and other sites.

The Council has been asked to approve a $35,000 incentive package for the $2 million, 20,000-square-foot expansion of TeleTech's call center on Rainbow Boulevard. The money, to be taken from unobligated Community Development Block Grant funds, would be used to hire off-duty police officers to improve security in the city parking ramp and nearby area during shift changes. The center, in the former Falls Street Station, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The expansion will add 180 new jobs, bringing total employment to about 954.

The Council also will be asked to allocate an additional 100 shift passes for parking in Ramp I. TeleTech pays the city $19.50 per space per month; other permanent tenants of the parking ramps pay between $25 and $40 per space. The city granted TeleTech the parking break to help lure the call center here in 1997.

The proposed TeleTech incentive package also includes $200,000 in training funds from the state and a $200,000 loan from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.

The proposed expansion of the economic development zone would add 348 acres in Forest Glen, the Packard Road-47th Street industrial corridor, and on the south side of North Avenue along the railroad right of way for a total of 1,250 acres. The original Highland Avenue zone was later expanded to include the Buffalo Avenue industrial strip.

Businesses that locate or expand in development zones are eligible for economic incentives. Larry Krizan, the city's development chief, said the city is "trying to stuff more land and facilities within the boundaries of the EDZ so we can have incentives applied to more acreage in the city."

A public hearing on the expansion will be held at 7 p.m. The expansion needs the approval of the state Department of Economic Development.

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