Hinsdale Objects to National Fuel PILOT

By Jann Wiswall

Holiday Valley’s parent company, Win-Sum Ski Corp., got approval from the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) board on Tuesday, April 21 for its request for a sales tax exemption on the purchase of some $2.5 million in supplies, materials and equipment for 2015-16 improvements at the resort.

Holiday Valley’s purchases include 40 new automated snow guns, four snowmobiles, a bus, a SnowCat, equipment for Sky High Adventure Park and golf carts, as well as construction materials, improvements to the resort’s IT systems, ongoing renovation of the Inn and golf course improvements. The value of the sales tax savings is estimated to be more than $200,000. The CCIDA’s administrative fee for this project will be 1.16 percent of the total $2.5 million project value, plus expenses.

Under a 2014 agreement with the IDA, the resort is receiving sales tax relief for materials and equipment needed for the realignment of Holiday Valley Rd. Construction on that project has begun.

The IDA board also approved a request for tax relief from Mazza Mechanical Services in Olean, which will construct a 6,600-square-foot addition and renovate existing facilities to help grow its business. The company requested sales tax abatement, a “manufacturing-new construction” PILOT and NYS mortgage recording tax exemption, which will save about $40,000 on its planned $550,000 investment.

In other business, IDA Executive Director Corey Wiktor reported that the National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation’s Northern Access 2015 project has hit a bump in the road to IDA tax breaks. Community leaders and the general public in Hinsdale attended a public hearing on the project and specifically objected to the company’s request for a 15-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement to reduce its real property tax burden by some $1.75 million.

Wiktor said that school and municipal leaders argued that a PILOT “of this magnitude would result in significant property tax increases in later years and would affect their ability to stay within the state’s 2% tax cap” mandate.

Wiktor said: “Hinsdale’s concerns are valid” given that the “state legislature has not addressed the 2% cap vs. PILOT issue.” If the community remains opposed, he said, the IDA “would be unlikely to offer the PILOT.”

A special board meeting will be required in May to address the IDA’s role in this project.

Wiktor also reported that he has spoken with National Grid about a proposal to construct a multi-million dollar power substation on 18 acres in the town of Humphrey. The project is in preliminary stages and detailed cost estimates have not yet been calculated.

Wiktor said the project would provide more power to Olean and surrounding areas, which he said is a “power-poor” region. The project would net significant new real estate taxes for Humphrey. He will keep the board informed as this project progresses.

The next scheduled meeting of the CCIDA will be held on Tuesday, June 9 at 11:15 a.m. at the CCIDA offices in Ellicottville.