Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- The Erie County Industrial Development Agency board on Monday approved a 2012 budget totaling $2.44 million, up 2.7 percent from the current year’s spending plan. The 2011 budget totaled $2.37 million.
The budget, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012 holds the line on professional service contract costs, including legal services, while boosting management fee revenues tied to the ECIDA’s related development funding entities: the Regional Development Corporation and the Industrial Land Development Corporation (8 percent), and the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation k (13 percent).
The budget also anticipates a 17 percent increase in revenues from the agency’s International Division credit report service.
The fiscal plan also includes an 8 percent increase in salaries and benefits, growing from $1.6 million to $1.8 million. The higher pay costs reflect the addition of a full-time comptroller post, replacing what had been a part-time senior bookkeeper position, the filling of a staff position in the international division, which had been vacated during 2011 and increases in salary and benefit costs.
The budget also taps revenue surpluses from previous years to help fund 2012 operations.
“While we have historically ended up with surpluses at the end of year, we can not ignore the fact that we are still working in a recessionary financial environment in which there is a great deal of uncertainty,” said ECIDA Chief Operating Officer Al Culliton. “That said we have a number of projects in the pipeline and will continue to do our best to work with established companies and small start-up businesses to help them achieve their dreams of growth and success.”
In other action, the board approved sales tax incentives to cover increased project costs of $238,000 for West Genesee Hotel Associates, the group which owns the downtown Buffalo Hyatt hotel. In 2010, the ECIDA okayed a $2.32 million lease back plan to aid an ambitious hotel renovation project. The additional $238,000 abatement package reflects a cost increase in the project to $2.7 million.
Since 1982, the ECIDA has arranged nearly $22 million in financing for construction and renovations at the downtown hotel. The Hyatt anticipates creating 60 jobs as a result of the latest round of improvements, which includes: a new salon/spa, a Starbucks kiosk, pool updates and conference center renovations.
The ECIDA board also approved a $138,000 sales, property and mortgage recording tax inducement package to aid the adaptive reuse of nearly 90-plus-year-old vacant building at 477 Main St. in downtown Buffalo.
The Martin Group, a communications firm currently located in leased space on Delaware Avenue at New Era Cap’s headquarters, plans to convert the 1.5 story structure into a two story building to house its employees.
The circa 1920s building was once used by the Wm. Hengerer Co. Department store, and later by Mass Mutual Insurance, Singer Sewing Co., ACG Development and as a Wendy’s Restaurant. The project continues a trend of needed reinvestment on Main Street.
The Regional Development Corporation also approved a $1 million loan to United Graphics, of Buffalo, to aid purchase of $2.7 million in state-of-the-art printing equipment. The corporation also approved a $358,000 loan to Alliance Innovative Manufacturing, Inc., of Lackawanna, to support a $2.2 million equipment purchase.