By Jann Wiswall

The Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency’s Board of Directors approved a proposal for sales tax abatement for several projects underway at HoliMont this summer, as well as a sale/leaseback agreement for Franklinville’s Ontario Knife Company.

The HoliMont proposal relates to several infrastructure and construction activities that are in process at HoliMont. These projects are not related to the WestMont Ridge Project, which was approved for abatements and sale/leaseback arrangements by CCIDA at its May meeting.

The $400,000-plus in projects includes improving snowmaking equipment and infrastructure, generator improvements, road repairs, lift house renovations and main chalet restroom renovations. In addition, HoliMont is building a log warming cabin at the top of the Cascade chairlift, complete with a wood stove, seating and light food service.

HoliMont General Manager Dave Riley noted that all work will be done by HoliMont’s full-time, year-round staff, ensuring long-term employment for local residents.

CCIDA Executive Director Corey Wiktor commented that HoliMont’s continued commitment to reinvest in the resort and enhance future development fits well into the CCIDA’s goals to expand tourism and keep jobs in the county.

CCIDA’s approval of Ontario Knife Company’s expansion plans in Franklinville also fits into CCIDA’s goals related to county employment growth, retention and industrial development. The company, which manufactures fixed-blade and folding knives, as well as cutlery and tools, plans to relocate and expand its 112-year-old business into a 75,000-square-foot facility on five acres and will renovate and build an addition to the facility. CCIDA will provide financial assistance in the form of sales tax abatements and exemptions for certain property, transfer, mortgage recording and other taxes.

After approving these projects, Wiktor took the board through a proposed adjusted 2013 budget for the agency, which adjusted revenue projections upward by $11,000 and reduced spending in some areas to account for increased expenses in others. Wiktor noted that “we’ve kept revenues above expenses,” and he expects to stay on target through the end of the budget year.

Wiktor also summarized for the board a number of new state initiatives designed to improve the state’s ability to attract new businesses. This included a new program called “START-UP NY,” recently announced by Governor Cuomo, that is intended to foster “entrepreneurialism and job creation on a large-scale” by creating tax-free communities in areas with qualifying state colleges and universities. CCIDA and other economic development and higher education officials in the county are looking at how Jamestown Community College (JCC) might fit into the program. Wiktor pointed out that, under the program, any new business would have to be located within one mile of JCC, so even finding property within those parameters might be a challenge.

The next meeting of the CCIDA Board of Directors will take place at the CCIDA building in Ellicottville on Sept. 17 at 11:15 a.m.