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Local hiring sought for IDA projects

Amherst Town Board member Mark A. Manna wants the Amherst Industrial Development Agency to require projects receiving tax breaks to hire local labor, in most cases.

Manna, who served as the Town Board's liaison to the IDA several years ago, proposed that the local labor requirement be in place on all projects receiving tax breaks, although it would allow for waivers on a case-by-case basis.

"The advantages of using local labor are obvious," Manna wrote in a letter to IDA officials outlining his proposal. "We ensure tax dollars are invested back into the local economy, reduce the environmental impact of commuting, foster community involvement and preserve local employment opportunities in construction."

While Manna made his proposal to the Amherst IDA, James J. Allen, the IDA's executive director, said the proposal will be taken up by the committee that helps draft eligibility guidelines and other policies for all six of the Buffalo Niagara region's IDAs.

"We are looking at it, and if we do it, it will be countywide," Allen said. "It's not going to be each individual agency."

Allen said he believes the policy committee will be receptive to Manna's suggestion, although monitoring compliance with such a requirement could be difficult.

"It seems there is some consensus that we will have some policy going forward on a local labor agreement," Allen said.?