Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 4, 2013

Hearing draws concern


Niagara Gazette —

"If it's their tax dollars, I feel that the jobs should go to local people," Quarantello said.

The PILOT includes a clause that requires the company to make a "best effort" to hire local labor, though there is no consequence in the agreement for hiring from outside the region.

Bill Rutland, the president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 182, said the same clause in previous NCIDA PILOTs has not stopped other companies receiving tax incentives from hiring out-of-state contractors. The language in the agreement isn't binding, Rutland noted.

"Who is going to police best efforts to use Niagara County labor?" Rutland said.

Supporters of the proposal have suggested that the expansion would not only benefit the local economy, but would be safe for the environment and surrounding community as well. 

James Regan, a spokesperson for Covanta Energy, said each load of "special waste" planned for delivery to the expanded facility would be inspected by a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officer. He said "special waste" is an industry term used to describe loads that are not part of the company's municipal contracts and all materials in that category are non-hazardous. 

"It could be a range of things that are covered in our permit," Regan said.

The company has said that it will add 23 new full-time jobs, retain 86 full time jobs and create 160 construction jobs during construction. Covanta will save nearly $8 million in taxes over the 15-year period, but claim in their application to the NCIDA that the expansion will create $38 million in direct and indirect benefits for the community.

The deal breaks down to $347,000 in tax breaks for every new, full-time job created over the 15-year period and $73,300 per job when counting full-time jobs created and retained, though the company has shown no indication that it would be forced to shut down or reduce staff without the tax abatement.

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