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LOCKPORT – Gooding Co., Lockport’s oldest industrial firm, won a 15-year tax break from the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency on Thursday, despite the opposition of two members who said an established firm like Gooding doesn’t need the town’s help.

The Davison Road company, a printing plant that specializes in inserts for prescription drugs, plans to add six to 10 people to its 35-person workforce over the next few years. The company also will be constructing an addition of 12,500 to 15,000 square feet, nearly doubling the size of its plant.

“It is the manufacturing end of the building. We don’t need office space,” company president Jerry Hace said. “We’re pretty snug. We are adding people.”

Hace said his 137-year-old company has added four new employees and six temporaries, the latter working their way toward permanence, since it submitted its application to the IDA for a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement.

The deal is expected to produce well over $2 million in community benefits, including salaries for the workers, the taxes they will pay, and the investment by Gooding, whose expansion is estimated to cost $900,000, IDA Executive Director David R. Kinyon said.

He said the deal would save Gooding an estimated $156,628 over the life of the agreement, including the property tax reductions and a sales tax exemption on building materials and equipment for the expansion. That estimate assumes property tax rates will remain at current levels.

“I look at a place like Gooding that is obviously successful,” IDA board member Duncan N. Carlson said. “Eventually, a company’s got to be able to expand on its own because it’s so good and so well run.”

“We have an established business here. I’m not in favor of a long-term PILOT,” board member Robert A. Lipp said.

They cast the only votes against the deal, which passed 5-2.

“He’s got options,” board member R. Thomas Weeks said. “He’ll find somebody else to work with him.”

Hace, a Buffalo resident, had told the board May 9 that he had looked at other locations for his business, although he preferred to keep it in Lockport, where he constructed a new plant in 1999.

IDA Chairman Thomas A. Sy said, “If we hadn’t altered our PILOT to require some tax payments right out of the gate, I might agree. The benefit compared to the $156,000 and change is a significant investment.”

The IDA used to offer a 100 percent property tax exemption in its standard PILOT terms, but now the standard industrial PILOT is an 80 percent exemptions in the first two years; 70 percent in years three and four; 60 percent in years five through seven; and 50 percent for the remaining years of the arrangement.

“We’re only getting half our taxes for seven years, instead of dropping [the benefit] 10 percent a year? I don’t think that’s fair,” Lipp said.

Carlson, the other dissenter, said, “I doubt it’ll even make a blip on his balance sheet.”

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com