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AUBURN — A local development board will consider financial information related to a local fertilizer plant and its parent company before voting on a request for tax benefits.

The Auburn Industrial Development Authority board voted Wednesday to table an application by CaroVail for various financial benefits.

The board was scheduled to discuss and possibly vote on the proposal during the meeting, which followed a brief public hearing on the issue.

Some members of the board requested CaroVail submit more information on the company’s financial background before the board votes. AIDA will likely hold the next meeting sometime in the second week of July.

CaroVail’s requests include a 15-year agreement for payment in lieu of taxes, also known as a PILOT agreement, that would set their assessment at $1 million. They also are requesting standard sales tax exemptions.

Under the PILOT, CaroVail would get a 100 percent tax abatement in the first year. For 10 years, the abatement would decrease 5 percent annually. The tax break would decrease by 10 percent per year starting after year 10, with CaroVail paying 100 percent in year 16.

The company is also seeking a real property tax credit through the state’s Empire Zone program. That credit would have to be rejected or run out before the PILOT begins.

The company recently invested more than $1 million in the Columbus Street fertilizer production and storage facility, adding a state-of-the-art blend plant that expanded its capacity.

During the meeting, CaroVail manager Cliff Love said the on-site improvements will help the plant “effectively and efficiently” serve its 2,400 square-mile market.

“CaroVail is committed to its Auburn facility and to growing the business,” he said.

Deb Najarro, of Finger Lakes Railway, also spoke during the public hearing. Najarro said she supports the PILOT proposal, adding that they run a “very tight ship” at the plant.

Finger Lakes Railway ships some of CaroVail’s product, and she said their business with the plant has doubled over the past three years.

“We’ve increased our business with them because they have been able to increase capacity,” Najarro said.

Short for Carolina Eastern-Vail, Inc., CaroVail operates six full-service crop businesses in two states. The company invested in the Auburn facility seven years ago. Before that, the operation was owned by Agway.

Staff writer Christopher Caskey can be reached at 282-2282 or christopher.caskey@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at CitizenCaskey.

 

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