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The date for the long-awaited public hearing on a payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement for the NRG generating station in Dunkirk will be set Friday.

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency will set the date at a special meeting at 3 p.m. in the North County Center of Jamestown Community College.

At Wednesday's IDA board meeting, 10 people spoke about the proposed payment during a 30-minute public comment period.

The greatest concern was the effect on the city and the school district of lower payments by the electric generating station.

Dunkirk Mayor Robert Kesicki has asked for state and federal help in making up any shortfall in city revenue.

Michael Boismenu, manager of the station, said: "We're looking for tax fairness, not relief. We have to compete in the market."

Andrew Woloszyn, clerk of the city's Board of Assessors, said: "I'm not against the agreement. I am against a reduction (in payments). No one wants to see the plant close. Nothing substantial has been shown to merit a reduction."

"Any agreement is based on the economic benefit to the community, not on assessment," said IDA Administrative Director Richard Alexander. "We are looking at investment in the community and the bottom line in the cost of guidelines from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and other demands."

The facility pays more than $8 million in property taxes annually under the settlement of an assessment suit with Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., the plant's former owner. The settlement expires Dec. 31. The IDA wants a payment agreement in place by May 1.

In other business, the board:

Approved a $300,000 AL Tech Revolving Trust Fund Loan to Ultrasonic Precision Products, with facilities in Falconer and Jamestown. This is a new corporation formed by Falconer Electronics' acquisition of CAE Ultrasonics. The company will continue to design, develop, produce and market ultrasonic and microsonic products and components at both locations. The new business employs 150 and expects to add 24 positions in three years.

Approved a second loan from the AL Tech fund for $352,000 to Ultrapak on Franklin Avenue in Dunkirk. The loan will allow the company to increase its in-house PVC shrink film slitting, seaming and cutting capacity and install a five-color printing press. The company supplies heat-shrinkable packages to the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. The work force of 33 is expected to grow to 53 over three years.

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