Niagara Gazette — O'Neil said the special waste handling facility and rail transfer facility — the two sections of the project that have permanent jobs linked to them — are dependent on the company's ability to secure contracts allowing them to bring waste in from New York City by rail.
"Those projects are still in the planning stages," O'Neil said. "Despite what everyone might think there is no contract with New York City or anyone else at this point."
O'Neil said Covanta has been working on securing the waste contracts in New York City for years and he is confident the company will be able to secure the rights to the waste.
"We're very close to closing it," he said. "I expect we will."
The company will not receive tax abatement on any portion of the project it does not complete.
Henry Sloma, the chair of the agency's board, said the NCIDA needs to make the region more welcoming to businesses because the burdensome nature of New York state regulations keep companies from locating here.
"We need to make them feel comfortable," he said.
Sloma said the board wants to work with companies like Covanta Energy because they have shown a willingness to invest in Niagara Falls, a place that can be a hard sell.
"They're taking their money and investing it in this community," Sloma said. "The investment of dollars. How many people are showing up to say 'there's $30 million'?"
Sloma said the new infrastructure projects will be worth the investment from county taxpayers, in part, because they make the area — a patchwork of brownfields — more attractive to other outside companies.
"When these companies, and they're global companies, look for locations and maintaining those it has to make business sense to stay there," Sloma said. "They don't have any emotional attachment to Niagara County. It's all money."