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Amherst IDA approves tax breaks for $5.5 million dental company project

The Amherst Industrial Development Agency board on Friday approved $992,000 in tax breaks for a company owned by a local dental surgeon who plans to expand his businesses, which provides training to medical professionals and manufactures components used in dental surgeries.

Shatkin F.I.R.S.T., owned by Dr. Todd E. Shatkin, sought the tax breaks to support a $5.5 million expansion that includes a 15,000-square-foot addition to a building at 2500 Kensington Ave. in Amherst. The expansion will allow the company to bring in even more dentists to receive training in Shatkin's patented dental implant procedures.

In addition, Shatkin F.I.R.S.T. plans to invest in new equipment at 2495 Kensington, where the dental surgery components are designed and manufactured.

The company told the IDA it would create five full-time and two part-time jobs within the first two years of completing the project and would retain 18 full-time and eight part-time jobs.

The project costs include $3.7 million for construction and $1.6 million for equipment, according to documents filed with the IDA. The tax breaks include $532,125 in property tax breaks, $410,477 in sales tax breaks and $50,000 in mortgage recording tax breaks.

Shatkin, a cosmetic and dental surgeon, founded Shatkin F.I.R.S.T. with his father, the late Dr. Samuel Shatkin Sr., to train other dentists in the dental implant procedures and to make and sell surgical guide stents, implants, dentures, crowns and other components used in the surgeries.

Todd Shatkin and his brother, Dr. Samuel Shatkin Jr., operate Aesthetic Associates Centre, the dental and plastic surgery center at 2500 Kensington Ave. David S. Mingoia, the IDA's executive director, emphasized at Friday's meeting that the dental and plastic surgery practice would not benefit from the tax breaks.

Prior to the board vote, a neighbor of the practice and of Shatkin F.I.R.S.T., Hadar Borden, addressed the board and urged members to reject the request. She said the company was creating too few jobs to merit the $992,000 in requested tax breaks and predicted the project would go forward without the benefits.

"This particular project doesn't seem to require the abatement that's been requested to accomplish the plan," Borden said.

Laurence K. Rubin, an attorney with Kavinoky Cook who represents Shatkin F.I.R.S.T., responded that the IDA application asks for the number of jobs created over the first two years, only, but the company intends to continue to grow beyond that.

And, because Borden had mentioned she works for the University at Buffalo, Rubin noted the company's research ties to UB's Dental School, and its hiring of local college graduates.

"This project is exactly in line with what the University at Buffalo, and our regional strategic planning, calls for," he said.

The board approved the tax breaks by a 5-1 vote with little debate. Michele Marconi cast the sole "No" vote. Board Chairman Carlton N. Brock Jr. abstained without offering a reason why.

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