CONCORD—Concord needs its Industrial Development Agency, Supervisor Gary Eppolito says. Chairman of the Concord IDA, Eppolito said the most recent New York state audit shows the Concord IDA is “far exceeding” the effectiveness measurements.
The 2015 audit shows Concord’s IDA was involved in eight economic development projects, which created 131 new jobs and retained an additional 144 jobs. According to the New York State Comptroller’s audit, the statewide average for expenses per project was $16,675. Concord IDA’s expense per project was $1,404.
IDAs are part of the General Municipal Law and the Public Authorities Law, according to New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Its website explains “[IDAs] are public benefit corporations and are generally exempt from sales and use taxes on their purchases.” IDAs use sales tax abatement programs and Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT programs, to entice economic development.
“We have a lot of older buildings … we have to incentivize,” Eppolito said. “People think we’re giving away the farm … we’re not.”
Erie County has five independent IDAs, Amherst, Lancaster, Clarence, Hamburg and Concord. Within the last year, the IDAs in the County have begun to look at using adaptive reuse – which allow older buildings to be reused differently than their original purpose.
“The old Knife Factory … the gym up the road … and the [Spring Creek Athletic Club] were both adaptive use,” Eppolito said. “We wouldn’t have those without the IDA.”
The abatement programs have caused controversy with members of the assembly, county officials and state officials. Eppolito said without the Concord IDA, the town would struggle to create economic development.
“The audit shows conclusively that the Concord IDA is out performing, by wide margins, IDAs across New York when it comes to respecting the taxpayer and creating economic environment to attract new jobs and help our existing business expand and remain competitive,” Eppolito said. “The Concord IDA is committed to continuing this performance and making sure that public resources are respected and directed to job creation and tax generating business activities for the good of the entire community.”