AURELIUS | After two years of speculation and economic projections, a consortium of 27 local dairy farm owners is finally ready to break ground on a 106,000-square-foot milk processing plant in the Cayuga County Industrial Park in Aurelius.

The Cayuga County Industrial Development Agency capped the lengthy process Tuesday with a public hearing on the project and by approving a payment in lieu of taxes agreement with Cayuga Marketing, the investor group.

Bill Morgan, the co-chairman of the Cayuga Marketing board of directors and a partner in Scipio Springs Dairy, said the company has put out bids for excavation work at the 25-acre site and is ready to begin this fall.

The new facility will process 630 million pounds of milk each year into milk protein concentrates and skim milk powder, ingredients that food manufacturers use in a variety of products.

"Milk protein concentrates are used mostly in the food industry by the big companies such as General Mills, Kraft, even some of the yogurt companies today," Morgan said. "You will never be able to go into a grocery store in town and find something that says Cayuga Milk Ingredients on the label. We will be selling to those companies."

Morgan said the skim milk powder will be exported to meet growing demand in Asian markets.

CCIDA Director Steve Lynch said the new processing facility will have a profound impact on the local economy, projecting the creation of 52 new local jobs with a $3.3 million total payroll in the first year.

The company also aims to build a $30 million facility and add $57 million worth of dairy processing and manufacturing equipment over 18 to 24 months.

"It will serve as an anchor tenant at the county industrial park and will be a catalyst — I hope — for attracting new value added manufacturing processors to Aurelius and Cayuga County," Lynch said.

The $110 million in projected annual revenues from the milk products will double when circulating in the local economy, Lynch estimated.

The 23-year PILOT approved Tuesday sets the tax rate on the 25-acre property at $24.76 per $1,000 of assessed value, the current combined county, town and school district rate, and increases the rate by 2 percent each year.

The base land value of the parcel will be fixed at $522,270, and the value of the facility will be set at $30 million when completed and follow a set depreciation schedule.

Lynch said the PILOT and the sales and use tax exemptions granted to the company will result in $14.4 million in savings to Cayuga Marketing and will generate a $4.4 million increase in revenues to the taxing jurisdictions when compared to the same agency-owned land without development.

The tax benefits make the Aurelius site more competitive to other industrial parks in the state by addressing a federally mandated purchase price differential and by helping the company conduct $2.8 million in required NYSEG electric utility infrastructure improvements.

Last year the company was awarded a $4 million state grant through the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council and last month the CCIDA made $30 million in tax exempt bonds available to the company to help pay for sewer improvements.

Staff writer Nathan Baker can be reached at 282-2238 or nathan.baker@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenBaker.

(7) comments

patchwork
patchwork

"CCIDA Director Steve Lynch said the new processing facility will have a profound impact on the local economy, projecting the creation of 52 new local jobs with a $3.3 million total payroll in the first year."
Every time we do this, the more it becomes expected. Put a shovel in the ground and get a subsidy from the already over burdened taxpayers. What happened to building business plans based solely on economics and the ability of those businesses to turn a profit? Why are taxpayers almost always, through no choice of their own, being forced to give handouts in the form of grants and tax deals to businesses ? I don't blame any developer or investor for asking, and given how many are getting "free money" almost daily, I would only expect the number of businesses making the requests to increase whether they need it or not. Hopefully they at least put clawback language in to protect taxpayers and to guarantee that the number and types of jobs and the economic impact projections are met.

cramerica
cramerica

Patchwork - there is no "subsidy" for this project. The tax base is not making any payment to CCIDA. Right now, the development site is a corn field between BOCES and Eagle Drive. How much tax revenue could that possibly generate? Note the line in the article where $4.4 million in additional revenue will be brought to our local tax base. The infrastructure in the area is will also receive a major upgrade that will entice further industrial and commercial developers. This really is a positive for the local economy.

So, this isn't "free money". It's a compromise that represents a net-positive for local government any way you cut it. Without this PILOT, all we would have is a corn field at the end of Eagle Drive.

patchwork
patchwork

"Last year the company was awarded a $4 million state grant through the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council "

The positives are it appears that we are getting a few decent paying jobs and there is some increase in property taxes being paid, but if taxes are the problem for a few of the well connected businesses, well then taxes are a problem for all of us. The solution is to take care of the structural tax problem that is forcing people and other businesses out. Just handing out grants to a few only serves to add to our overall tax problems while putting a few people in charge of selecting who wins or loses in our state economy and that is not only unfair, it doesn't work.

openminded
openminded

I have had a few opportunities in my life to return to the part of the country I love most deeply - upstate New York. But like many of my friends, the struggling economy and the corporate taxes made such a move unwise. So I am excited yet baffled by what I am reading today. To see such a ground-breaking event occur in New York State is a pure delight. Investment, construction, employment, revenue retention, the role out effect of the money, increased taxes for the community. These are the kind of win-win-wins other New Yorkers only dream of. And then...to see people complain??? Wow. That is so very sad. So sad it made me post my first ever comment to a newspaper article - I simply must say "Congratulations Aurelius! Well done to all the people who cooperated to make this industrial development happen?" Now - can we folks in Delaware sign up next?

patchwork
patchwork

Feel free to move back and you can help us pay off the second highest debt in the nation and can contribute to some of the highest overall taxes. With some luck you can also buy a house and help bail out some of the cities that are on the verge of bankruptcy. So come on back, like the govenor says " we're open for business". The leaders apparently want everyone to focus on the few jobs being created with the help of millions of tax dollars that we don't have and not pay attention to the real long term problems that we face. I'm happy we have a few more jobs, just not happy that my kids will be paying for them for a long time. I'm hopeful though, that when we finally reach bottom, things will change for the better.

Capt Obvious
Capt Obvious

Who invited Debbie Downer? Be happy about something, progress take concessions. 54 new jobs that help local farmers control their own raw material locally. Sounds like a win win to me.

Farmer's Gal
Farmer's Gal

When Cayuga Marketing is involved, I remain skeptical. I'll believe it a bit more if those jobs go to United States citizens and they get benefits too. Last I heard, they got it designated "agricultural" -- making it likely neither of the above will be the case.

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