Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 8, 2013

Covanta vote expected on Thursday

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

"If there isn't enough information available to substantiate a reliance on the PILOT to further the project then the PILOT would just send revenue due to Niagara County taxpayers to to New Jersey," Witryol said, referencing Covanta's out-of-state headquarters. 

James Regan, a spokesperson for Covanta, said if the company does not receive the tax break from the agency it would not slow production or lay anyone off. He would not say whether the infrastructure expansion would go forward without the agreement, but that the abatement will help the company ensure jobs into the future and will raise the value of the property.

"There are still things that are undecided and that decision has yet to be made," Regan said.

The New Jersey based company made $219 million in profits in 2011, according to the company's New York Stock Exchange income statement, and $27 million in the third quarter of 2012, according to a quarterly report to stock holders.

In its 10-Q filing — documentation required from publicly traded companies by the SEC — the company suggests it needs to expand to meet demand for current contracts.

"During the first quarter of 2012 we extended a steam sale contract from 2013 to 2021 for our Niagara EfW facility," the document says. "This contract combined with new and extended contracts entered in 2011 will increase the steam demand from our customer base and will require us to invest in capital expenditures in 2012 and 2013 to install a new natural gas boiler and steam line to connect to our new customers."

Witryol submitted a letter to the NCIDA officials challenging the numbers the agency calculated for the project overview. Her calculations suggest the amount of tax savings to be $20 million and the "community benefit" to be just under $1 million over the course of the agreement.

Witryol says that the major discrepancy that she based her calculations on was the assessment of the value of the real property. 

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