Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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April 18, 2013

Auto dealer's tax relief bid nixed

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Ki-Po, which currently leases the Ransomville showroom, is eyeing buying the facility, renovating and expanding it to conform with new GM Chevrolet Division branding mandates. It could move the existing business to a new location but prefers to stay in Ransomville, company executives said previously. If it doesn’t renovate and expand the existing facility, it’s risking renewal of its GM franchise agreement there, they added.

Ki-Po’s tax-relief application said it would invest $1.5 million to purchase and update the facility and would add five full-time and three part-time jobs with expansion. 

NCIDA staff projected tax savings of $112,000 over 10 years for KI-PO, and $143,000 tax savings over 15 years, the PILOT term that the company proposed whereas commercial PILOTs are almost always for 10 years. NCIDA directors refused to put the longer-term agreement to a vote.

Ki-Po is free to apply for tax breaks on Ransomville showroom expansion again, Gabriele said, but he advised its next request should not be so “aggressive.” Given the directors’ mixed feelings about whether the project is ordinary or unique retail development, they might be more open to a shorter-term compact, that is, a five-year PILOT, he said.

After the amendments to state IDA law, when an agency finds that a retail project qualifies for tax breaks because it’s in a distressed area or makes unique products and services available, it also has to find that the project will create or retain private-sector jobs before tax breaks can be offered — and the chief executive officer of the municipality that the IDA was formed to aid has to sign off on, or “confirm,” the IDA’s findings in order for the breaks to be legal. 

In Niagara County, NCIDA-approved tax breaks for distressed-area or unique retail development would be confirmed by County Manager Jeffrey Glatz, according to Gabriele.

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