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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

IDA gets protection for payment failures

WHEATFIELD -- Niagara County municipalities will have some protection if companies receiving aid from the county Industrial Development Agency don't make their payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs.

The IDA board voted last week to require a "PILOT mortgage" for every new project it approves. IDA Attorney Mark J. Gabriele said a municipality's unpaid taxes are secured and are always paid first in a foreclosure, but that doesn't apply to nontax payments.

With a mortgage, if a company fails to make PILOT payments, they would be as much of a lien on the property as unpaid taxes would be, Gabriele explained. If a company receives IDA aid, its property is not fully taxable for as long as 15 years.

On another IDA matter, the county has agreed to apply for a $400,000 state Community Development Block Grant to replenish the funds for the IDA's Microenterprise Assistance Program, which lends to new or existing very small businesses. The county expects to hear this summer if it will receive the grant.

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Program offers update on Martin House work

LEWISTON -- The Historical Association of Lewiston will present a free program on "Restoring a Masterpiece," giving an update on the $30 million Darwin Martin House restoration project.

The program starts at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in St. Paul's Episcopal Church at Fourth and Ridge streets.

Speaker John Kociela has been a volunteer for the Darwin Martin House organization for 15 years. He will offer a progress report on the efforts to restore this property, considered a Frank Lloyd Wright design masterpiece and his greatest Prairie Style house.

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