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2020 ANNUAL REPORT

FULTON COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

2020 ANNUAL REPORT

MARCH 9, 2021
PREPARED BY:
FULTON COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

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I. GENERAL OPERATIONS:

A. Background:

The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) was created in 1970 by an act of the New York State Legislature as a corporate governmental agency constituting a public benefit corporation. The purpose of an Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is:

“to promote, develop, encourage and assist in the acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, improving, maintaining, equipping and furnishing industrial, manufacturing, warehousing, commercial and research facilities and thereby advance the job opportunities, general prosperity and economic welfare of the people of the state of New York and to improve their standard of living.”

B. Mission Statement:

The IDA’s Mission Statement is as follows:

“The IDA’s mission is to create and promote economic growth and prosperity for both residents and entrepreneurs in Fulton County. The IDA’s role in Fulton County’s Economic Development Program is to develop and maintain an inventory of shovel-ready sites for new and expanding businesses, offer financial incentives, as may be required, to encourage the creation of new and retention of existing jobs and expand the County’s tax base. In doing so, the IDA strives to make Fulton County a desirable place to live and do business.”

C. Tax Exemptions:

The New York State Legislature authorizes IDAs to offer three (3) types of tax exemptions to stimulate private sector investment and create jobs:

  1. Real Property Tax Exemptions:

New York State Law designates IDA’s as tax exempt entities.  When an IDA holds title to real property, New York State Law says all improvements on the property are exempt from real property taxes. However, the land that the improvements are located on remain taxable.

However, for projects the IDA is involved with, the IDA requires companies to enter into a Payment In Lieu Of Tax Agreement (PILOT).  A PILOT is a contractual agreement between the IDA and a company that states that even though the project is tax exempt due to IDA ownership, the company shall make PILOT payments to local taxing jurisdictions in lieu of paying taxes.  PILOT Agreements stipulate that companies make PILOT payments to local taxing jurisdictions that are based upon a percentage of the property tax that would otherwise be due on the property was not owned by the IDA.  Once a PILOT is executed, the company makes the required annual PILOT payments to local taxing jurisdictions in accordance with the PILOT.  It is the responsibility of the local taxing jurisdictions to issue annual invoices under a PILOT to the company and to ensure that payments are received in a timely manner.

The IDA provides Payment in Lieu of Tax Agreements to eligible projects in accordance with its Uniform Tax Exemption Policy (UTEP).  The IDA’s current UTEP states that it will provide PILOT’s modeled after Section 485-b of NYS’s Real Property Tax Law.  Section 485-b states that a company can receive a 50% exemption on the assessed valuation of the improvements on the property in year 1.  The exemption then decreases 5% a year for 10 years.  After ten (10) years, the company would make a PILOT payment equivalent to 100% of the amount it would be paying in real property taxes if it owned the property.  During that 10-year period, the company would be making “PILOT payments” to local taxing jurisdictions and not “property tax payments.”  Once the Lease and PILOT Agreement the IDA has with a company expires, the property then returns to the tax rolls.  At that time, the company starts making “property tax payments” to local taxing jurisdictions and no longer be making “PILOT payments.”

The following IDA Projects have active PILOT’s as of December 31, 2020:

Company Address
CG Roxane 1 Old Sweet Road, Johnstown
Benjamin Moore 155 Union Avenue Extension, Johnstown
  1. Sales Tax Exemptions:

IDA’s can offer eligible projects an exemption from New York State and local sales taxes on construction materials and equipment. The exemption is generally limited to the construction, reconstruction or installation period and cannot cover ongoing operational costs.

  1. Mortgage Recording Tax Exemption:

If an eligible project involves a mortgage and that mortgage needs to be filed in the Fulton County Clerk’s Office, the IDA can offer an exemption from New York State’s mortgage recording tax which is currently 1% in Fulton County.

D. Financing:

IDA’s can also provide bond financing for a project.  Financial institutions, such as banks, insurance companies or private individuals purchase these bonds as an investment similar to an individual purchasing a U.S. Government Savings Bond. By purchasing a bond, a private investor lends its funds to a business. The business commits to repay the principal and interest, if the bonds are taxable, to the investor.  The business and the financial institution, independent of the IDA, negotiate the terms, interest rate and other conditions of the transaction. The IDA acts as an intermediary for this private transaction.  There are no IDA or public funds involved in an IDA bond transaction.

The IDA does not have a loan fund or pool of money to use to help finance projects.  The financing referred to here is private funds coming from banks, financial institutions or private investors.

The IDA, Fulton County Government or Fulton County taxpayers do not lend any public money nor do they assume any responsibility for repaying bonds if a company defaults on any payment.  There is also no financial liability on the IDA, Fulton County or taxpayers.  Bond payments are solely the responsibility of the company borrowing the money.

E. IDA Projects:

The following is a list of all active IDA projects as of December 31, 2020:

Company Address
CG Roxane 1 Old Sweet Road, Johnstown, NY
YMCA 213 Harrison Street, Gloversville, NY
Century Linen 125 Balzano Drive, Gloversville, NY
Benjamin Moore 155 Union Avenue Extension, Johnstown, NY
Nexus Renewables 881 CR107, Johnstown, NY

II. SUMMARY OF 2020 ACTIVITIES:

The IDA Board met twelve (12) times in 2020.  The following is a summary of the key activities addressed by the IDA Board in 2020:

1. COVID 19:

As a result of the COVID 19 Pandemic, the IDA Board, commencing in April 2020, began having Zoom Conference Call meetings in lieu of in person meetings.  These Zoom Conference Call meetings were authorized by Executive Orders issued by Governor Cuomo.

2. TRYON TECHNOLOGY PARK PROJECT:

a. New Electric System:

After years of planning, National Grid finally completed, in July 2020, the installation of a new 13.2 KV primary electric system into the Tryon Technology Park.  The new line runs underground along CR117 and services the existing wastewater pump station, water booster station, elevated tank and Vireo Health.  After the new service was installed, all overhead wires and poles were removed.

The IDA Board expressed its deep appreciation to the Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District and John Persch, District Manager, for supplying equipment and manpower as part of the new electric system project and the subsequent removal of the old electrical system.

b. Lands on South Side of CR107:

The IDA Board executed a Purchase Contract with Tryon Organics Enterprises to sell the 27+/- acres of land it owns on the south side of CR107.

The IDA expended time and money getting the sewer line servicing this 27+/- acre parcel back into operational condition.  Doing so was a condition to being able to sell this parcel.  The sewer line was initially pressure tested but the results were inconclusive.  The IDA Board then had the sewer line video inspected.  The video inspection found no breaks in the sewer main but found a lot of mud, debris, scaling and other materials in the main.  As a result, the IDA Board authorized that the entire sewer main be powerjetted and vacuumed to clean the line.  This work was scheduled to be completed but a major snowstorm on December 17th prevented this work from being completed in 2020.  It will be completed in 2021.  Once completed, the sewer main will be ready to be utilized.

c. Vireo Health:

The IDA Board approved a Purchase Option Agreement with Vireo Health to allow Vireo Health to acquire approximately 96 acres of additional land both within and adjacent to the Tryon Technology Park to pursue a potential new project in 2021.

d. Nexus Renewables Project:

In 2020, the IDA Board agreed to lease approximately 29 acres of land adjacent to the Tryon Technology Park to Nexus Renewables for Nexus to construct and operate a community solar facility.  The Lease would be for 25 years with three (3) five (5) year options.  The IDA will generate annual revenues from this project that will financially benefit the IDA’s operations.  The 29+/- acres leased to Nexus was not part of the Tryon Technology Park.  Nexus plans on starting construction in the first quarter of 2021.  The IDA ended up executing leases with four (4) separate LLC’s who will each operate separate solar projects.

e. Cushman Wakefield:

The IDA Board retained Cushman Wakefield to help market the Tryon Technology Park.

f. Marketing:

The IDA worked with the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth in submitting proposals to prospective companies looking for a site.  Tryon was offered to several prospective companies in 2020.

g. Property Insurance:

The IDA recommended to the Board of Supervisors some changes to the property insurance the County includes in its Policy with NYMIR for Buildings 3 and 60 at Tryon.  These changes resulted in the cost of insuring these two (2) buildings to decrease.

h. Other:

In 2019, the IDA Board approved the following items for Tryon:

  1. Hired Greenscapes to cut grass.
  2. Leased lands to R & R Farms, Inc. to grow crops.
  3. Hired CFI Construction to test sewer line running from south side CR107 to sewer truck main in Tryon Technology Park.
  4. Hired Adirondack Septic to:

a) Make emergency repairs to a plugged sewer line by rerouting sewer flow.
b) Video inspect the sewer line servicing the parcel on the south side of CR107.
c) Water jet and vacuum the sewer line serving the parcel on the south side of CR107.

5. Hired Pareene Contracting to replace a plugged section of sewer main and two (2) valves.

6. Hired CBRE to prepare Restricted Use Reports/Appraisals for three (3) existing buildings.

7. Hired Ferguson & Foss to prepare surveys for three (3) parcels of land within Tryon.

8. Made emergency repairs to Building 3 caused by vandalism.

9. Filed an insurance claim resulting from damage caused by vandalism to Building 3.

10. Sold old transformers.

11. Hired C.T. Male to update the Site Plan for the Tryon Technology Park.

12. Hired Room One Design to update Tryon Technology Park brochure.

3. BENJAMIN MOORE EXPANSION PROJECT:

In 2020, Benjamin Moore advanced plans to expand its latex paint manufacturing plant in the City of Johnstown.  Benjamin Moore proposed to construct a 120,000 sf addition to its existing facility.  The Company applied to the IDA for two (2) financial incentives:

  1. Real Property Tax Exemption
  2. Sales Tax Exemption

The IDA Board approved these exemptions.  Benjamin Moore commenced work on the Expansion Project in late 2020.  The expansion is expected to be completed by 2023.  The project will create new jobs and property tax revenues for local taxing jurisdictions.

4.  JOHNSTOWN RENEWABLES PROJECT:

In 2020, the IDA Board terminated its Lease and PILOT with Johnstown Renewables.  This was done after the IDA recaptured sales tax benefits Johnstown Renewables had received.  The amount recaptured was approved by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance (T & F).  The amount recaptured was sent to T & F along with certain forms and documentation.  The former Johnstown Renewables property was sold at a public auction in October 2020.

5.  FULTON COUNTY YMCA PROJECT:

In 2008, the IDA issued $5,450,000 in Civic Facilities Bonds to the Fulton County YMCA to construct their new facility on Harrison Street.  The Bonds, which were purchased by NBT Bank, were scheduled to mature on July 1, 2030.  As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the YMCA closed for an extended period of time in 2020.  In May, the YMCA applied to NBT Bank for a 3-month deferral of its principal and interest payment due NBT.  The deferral was for the 3-month period of April 1 – June 30.  The deferral would result in the maturity date of the Bonds being changed from July 1, 2030 to October 1, 2030.  In May, the IDA approved this deferral.

In August 2020, the YMCA applied to NBT Bank for a second bond deferral payment.  The deferral would be for a 3-month period of July 1 – September 30.  The deferral would result in the maturity date of the Bonds being changed from October 1, 2030 to January 1, 2031.  The IDA Board approved this second deferral.

6.  IDA WEBSITE:

Emery Designs continued work updating and revising the IDA’s website.  This work was completed in 2020.

7.  VIDEO STREAMING:

In 2019, the IDA Board learned that the State Legislature would, commencing in 2020, mandate that all IDA’s live video stream IDA meetings and public hearings.  The IDA Board purchased the necessary equipment and, in January 2020, began video streaming its meetings.

8.  FULTON COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY:

Fulton County’s Development Strategy recommended the creation of three (3) Primary Development Areas were identified where new housing could be developed.  One of these Primary Development Areas is the Tryon Development Area.  This Development Area contains approximately 35+/- acres and is located at the northern end of the Tryon property owned by the IDA.  With respect to the Tryon Development Area, the Development Strategy recommended that:

a. Fulton County should prepare a one-page “sell sheet” that focuses specifically on the market demand for executive-level housing. The sheet should include information on growth in households with incomes over $100,000 and the lack of executive level housing in the County.

b. Fulton County should market the residential plan in conjunction with the Technology Park as “Tryon Technology Park and Village.” The vision for an upscale residential village adjacent to the Technology Park can help support tenant recruitment efforts for the Park.  This, in turn, will help induce demand for housing in the village as new businesses move into the Park.  The County should enhance the Tryon website to help promote and market the vision for Tryon as a business park and residential community.   Erie Station Village and Erie Station Business Park in Henrietta, New York is a good example of this approach.

c. Fulton County should focus on neighborhood-serving retail like a coffee house, bar or restaurant. Potential uses should be carefully designed to be contemporary and fresh to complement the housing in that development area that should be targeted to professionals and executives.  In the near term, it is more feasible to recruit a small café or similar business to locate on the Tryon Campus.  As housing is built, new retail development may become feasible in the “village” area.

d. Fulton County should consider partnering with a developer on a “Phase I” project. The type of housing envisioned in Tryon Village represents a largely unproven market, which may deter developers.  The County should be prepared to engage in a partnership to entice a developer, such as putting in a small portion of the new road.  The purpose of this will be to demonstrate a market for the types of homes included in the vision, which will attract additional private investment.  Alternatively, it may demonstrate a need to shift the vision for Tryon Village, such as towards more workforce-level housing.

9.  OTHER:

In 2020, the IDA Board also took the following additional actions:

a. The IDA renewed its Gold Membership with the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.

b. The IDA adopted a revised Uniform Tax Exemption Policy.

c. The IDA Board adopted a 2021 Budget.

The IDA Board appreciates the strong partnership it has with the Fulton County Board of Supervisors and looks forward to continuing that partnership.