Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 3, 2013

Public comments to be heard on proposed tax break for Covanta, waste-to-energy company


Niagara Gazette —

But not everyone feels the tax break will benefit the community. Amy Hope Witryol, a former state senate candidate and retired bank executive from Lewiston who has worked on environmental issues in the area for more than a decade, said the company would be expanding regardless of whether they were granted the tax break or not.

"This creates value for Covanta, not taxpayers." Witryol said.

Witryol said that the NCIDA is not only giving a tax break to a company that does not need one, but a company that puts toxins into the air.

"If we're giving a company financial incentives we want to be giving them incentives to make this a better and safer community," she said.

Mayor Paul Dyster said he sees the company's expansion as a "net gain," so long as a few key provisions to the PILOT agreement are enforced. 

Dyster wants to make sure the company is held to the clause in the PILOT requiring it to make efforts to hire locally for both the permanent and construction jobs.

"We treat that seriously and want to make sure that it's followed," he said.

Dyster said that, although the city is not giving out the tax break, the city is a stakeholder and wants to be certain the community gets more than it gives up in tax revenues.

"The principals, generally speaking, want to make sure that the added value for the community is worth the tax abatement," Dyster said.

Dyster said the move to shipping in the waste using rail will also benefit the community by reducing the number of trucks driving to the facility and the amount of time those trucks spend idling at international crossings making for traffic congestion.

"We want to encourage the use of rail," Dyster said.

mug of Witryol, Amy Amy Witryol Disagrees with PILOT

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