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Lockport agency approves tax breaks for 2 companies in industrial park

The Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency approved tax breaks last week for a company moving into its industrial park and one company reopening a plant there.

Introl Design will receive a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement for its new $850,000 factory in the industrial park off Upper Mountain Road.

Actually, "payment" is a misnomer for the first 10 years of the deal, for Introl will pay no taxes at all for a decade.

The company will pay 20 percent of full value taxation in the 11th year, a figure that will increase by 20 percent each year thereafter.

Spartech Polycom, a longtime supplier of polypropylene pellets to Harrison Radiator, later Delphi Harrison Thermal Systems, shut its doors in late 2009 as General Motors fought off bankruptcy.

But the company aims to reopen its doors with a small staff. IDA Executive Director David R. Kinyon said Spartech's PILOT is for five years, beginning with a 50 percent tax exemption in the first year. Spartech will pay at 60 percent of full value in the second year, and that proportion will rise 10 percent per year.

Introl will be moving its plant from North Street in the City of Lockport, where it's been located since 1978.

The company, which employs 15 people, produces several technical products, but in recent years it's done best with an electrical detector that triggers railroad track switches.

Introl president Ali Shams said Introl had been mulling expansion for three or four years.

Shams said the company supplies its railroad sensors to GE Transportation, which sells and installs them all over the world. Introl's product is in use in Germany, France, Britain, India, China, South Korea and South Africa.

Shams lives in Clarence, but his workers are almost all Lockport residents. "I couldn't see moving the company to Erie County," he said.

The recession hit Introl hard, and the company began ordering workers to take one unpaid day off every week.

"In 2009, everybody here was in a work-share program, including myself," said Shams, an electrical engineer who's been with Introl since 1984.

But late in 2009, orders suddenly bounced back. "In October 2009, it was like somebody turned on a light switch," Shams said.