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IDA OPTIMISTIC ABOUT 2005 REVENUES

The Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency board of directors acknowledged during Tuesday night's annual meeting that a slowdown in project applications is responsible for the lagging 2004 income level.

The IDA planned on $172,000 in revenues this year. So far, only $68,000 has come in.

But board members tentatively accepted a more hopeful 2005 budget, with increased revenues of $379,000 reflecting the possibility that several back-burner economic development projects will bear fruit.

The board agreed to change its fees for leaseback projects, which is partly responsible for more than doubling the anticipated application and fee revenues at $300,000.

A $15,000 cut in wages to $120,000 brings the expense side of the budget proposal down to $199,980 from the 2004 total of $217,851.

The plan will be sent to the Cattaraugus County Legislature for review before the board considers final acceptance of the plan.

Executive Director Norm Leyh said that increased revenues are possible because applications are close to finalization for 1378 Group's 82-room hotel proposal in downtown Ellicottville and Holiday Valley's development of a medical office facility -- both in the wings for months. He refused to disclose any information about other projects for 2005, but said, "There are some big ones out there."

The board then authorized transfer of $10,000 from savings to the agency's checking account to accommodate payroll and operating expenses in anticipation of the pending sale of Olean Industrial Park property to Cassella, a long-term tenant expected to pay as much as $34,000 for land now housing a waste transfer station.

Leyh also outlined a schedule for upcoming public meetings on the agency's proposed changes in a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes policy that overhaul the standard 10-year agreement. Among other things, the new arrangement will accommodate tourism-based businesses as a new project category.

A public information session on the PILOT will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Cutco Theater of Jamestown Community College's Olean Campus, with a non-mandated public hearing at 7 p.m. during the Cattaraugus County legislature's Dec. 13 session in Little Valley.

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