ELLICOTTVILLE — The Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency voted Monday to extend its 11-month-long moratorium on any new solar or wind projects until the end of the year.
A proposed 60-day extension of the moratorium on solar and wind projects quickly turned into a four-month extension of the moratorium.
The current six-month extension was due to expire Aug. 31.
Industrial Development Agency board member Joseph Snyder asked what the impact was of the section in the New York state budget that would allow the state to value the alternative energy projects in a way favorable to the developer, and not as advantageous as local payment in lieu of taxes (P.I.L.O.T.) agreements.
P.I.L.O.T.s will still be available through local IDAs, explained IDA executive Director Corey Wiktor. Section N of the state budget which passed, but is being challenged in the courts, would allow the state to set property tax rates for alternative energy projects.
Wiktor also briefed the IDA board on developments relating to the sale and closing of Ontario Knife Co. in Franklinville. The plant closed on July 27 after its sale by parent company Servotronics of Elma, N.Y., to Blue Ridge Knife Co. of Virginia.
Of the more than 30 employees who lost their jobs, Wiktor said that many had already found new ones, including four who were hired by Servotronics for a separate operation it maintains on the second floor of the Franklinville plant.
The county’s only remaining cutlery, Cutco Corporation of Olean, has agreed to take employee resumes and match them to any openings that are available.
A targeted job fair scheduled at the plant in the next few weeks has drawn interest from about 10 employers including Great Lakers Cheese Co., which is building a new $600 million cheese plant outside Franklinville. Great Lakes Cheese has already pledged to hire many of the Ontario Knife Co. employees, Wiktor said.
Servotronics gave the employees eight week’s severance pay and health benefits, Wiktor said.
Great Lakes Cheese is also looking at the Ontario Knife plant — 24,000 square feet of which is newly constructed manufacturing space — because of its space needs away from the plant, Wiktor said.
Servotronics is looking to sell the building and continue leasing the second floor for its own manufacturing purposes, where it has about 27-28 employees, Wiktor said. Great Lakes Cheese plans to tour the site soon, he added.
The good news, IDA board members agreed, was that a large number of the Ontario Knife employees had already gotten new jobs. In a tight labor market, employers are eager to sign up seasoned, hard-working employees, Wiktor said.
The IDA accepted applications for tax abatement from two companies, a $2.3 million renovation of a new headquarters for Kinley Construction in Allegany, and a $7.5 million plan by Steelbound Brewery and Distillery of Ellicottville to renovate manufacturing space to expand brewing and distilling operations.
Bill Bursee, owner and president of Steelbound, told the IDA board said it was an exciting phase one for the company. Focusing on manufacturing to expand capacity will lead to a tremendous amount of growth, he said.
Bursee said he brews 40 beers and 31 liquor brands. Liquor is ahead of beer in terms of production. Steelbound brews the Josh Allen brand and can’t make enough of it, he explained.
Phase 2 will include an 80-room hotel on the corner of routes 219 and 242 that will be attached to the Steelbound Brewery and Distillery restaurant by a sky bridge. He also plans for an open air kitchen to present celebrity chef events. “Its something Ellicottville has never seen,” he said, noting the hotel will be a high-end Hilton.
“I think that corner is going to be a big deal,” Bursee said. “It’s going to be a brand new entry into Ellicottville. The celebrity chef events are an opportunity “to bring more foot traffic to Ellicottville. We need to bring in more things to do in this community.”
Another idea he’s looking at is an Epic Surf attraction to allow people to surf inside. It would be like a small water park, Bursee said. It would give skiers something to do when they are not on the slopes, he said.
Bursee said in his application that 30 full-time jobs will be retained and and 15 new jobs will be created two years after the project is completed.
Kinley will be moving its headquarters from cramped space on Maple Street in Allegany to the Event Center off Interstate 86 Exit 24 in Allegany, at West Five Mile Road.
Plans call to renovate the 10,120-square-foot Event Center and build a 5,000-square-foot storage building on the 9-acre site. The company is looking for a P.I.L.O.T., a $29,450 mortgage recording tax exemption and unspecified sales tax exemption.
The application states that 25 full-time and three part-time jobs would be created in the two years after completion of the project. They would also retain 41 full-time and three part-time posts.