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Rosina Foods gets $4 million in tax breaks for expansion

Rosina Food Products is getting $4.4 million in tax breaks through the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to build a plant in West Seneca to make frozen meatballs, sausage and toppings as part of a $58 million expansion that is expected to create 40 new jobs.

The factory at an abandoned railroad yard at 3100 Clinton St. will shift some of the company’s frozen meat production – and about 100 jobs – from an aging meatball processing line now located in Cheektowaga and bring in additional work now outsourced to a meat packer in Chicago.

The facility will allow Rosina to double the production of the aging meatball line that will be shut down in Cheektowaga. The expansion also will let Rosina bring two-thirds of the production now done by a company in Chicago to the West Seneca factory.

The Cheektowaga factory at 75 Industrial Parkway will remain open, with 166 employees. Rosina officials said they hope to bring additional work to the Cheektowaga site.

Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski said she initially had concerns about tax breaks for the the project, which involves moving production from one Erie County community to another, but those were eased by the potential for new work at the Industrial Parkway site.

“They have committed to taking the plant they need to update and hopefully create some jobs there in the future,” she said.

The project also has raised concerns from West Seneca residents about its impact on nearby sewers.

Rosina officials said the project would not be financially feasible without the tax breaks and threatened to close the Cheektowaga processing line and shift that work to the Chicago company, which currently produces about a third of Rosina’s meatball products and has excess capacity at its factories. That would have eliminated 100 jobs now in Cheektowaga.

Rosina executives said they hope to move into the new facility at the beginning of 2021. The 40 new jobs are expected to pay an average of $38,600.

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