The developer that wants to build a huge warehouse in the Town of Clay passed a couple of hurdles to help the project move forward – largely based on the possibility of up to 1000 new jobs. The Onondaga County Industrial Development Authority – or OCIDA – approved tax breaks that total around $65 million over 15 years.
OCIDA Board Chair Pat Hogan argues the incentives are worth it.
“…because it’s 1000 jobs, because the way this PILOT agreement is structured, it actually brings more money into the community. It makes use of our location, as being in the middle of the state. It says Syracuse is a place where you can put a company, you can employee people and people have a chance to make a good living.”
A key aspect of the deal for him was: Liverpool Schools and the Town of Clay will get more than 20 times the tax revenue as they were receiving form the Liverpool Golf Course, the site of the project. Residents nearby have a range of concerns, form pollution to noise to traffic from trucks. Nearby resident Sue Hammond wonders if there’s been enough review.
“We really don’t have enough information to say whether it’s going to have significant impacts. What they’re (developer) doing is, ‘We’ve mitigated this, we’re going to put some lights up here, we’re going to put some berms in here, and that’s going to take care of the situation.”
At the very least, she argues, there should have been a more thorough environmental impact review. OCIDA approved an abbreviated review as lead agency on the project. County Executive Ryan McMahon has supported the project, mainly for the jobs and economic boost. And he answers detractors who worry the project won’t live up to promises.
“If an applicant says they’re going to have 1000 jobs created by 2022, if they do not have those 1000 jobs when we go and audit them, they risk their PILOT deal and getting claw-backs on the sales tax exemptions and the mortgage tax relief. So the public should feel good that if the jobs aren’t created, the benefits will be taken back.”
He adds there are provisions that the project has to use local labor.
McMahon has campaigned on using large projects as ways for low-income and impoverished individuals to improve their lives. He’s running against Tony Malavenda, who supports more job training investments, and getting those who need the jobs to the table when negotiating. As for the warehouse project, he worries the 30-thousand dollar jobs promised are not going to attract younger workers to the area. Developer Trammel Crow hopes to start construction on the project by next spring … though other zoning- and building-plan approvals are still necessary.
This story has been updated with copy corrections.