SI Group pitches $12 million 'green' project in Rotterdam

Schenectady International (SI) Group, Inc. has decided to go green, and they've decided to do it in Rotterdam.

The Rotterdam Industrial Development Agency (RIDA) voted unanimously to accept an SI Group application that would authorize the installation of a bio-mass boiler and add seven jobs to the company's Rotterdam workforce. The financially struggling SI Group currently employs 175 people at its Rotterdam Junction location.

According to the SI Group's application, a large part of its financial burden stems from the cost of real property taxes. The company paid approximately $800,000 in taxes in 2006.

The SI Group pointed to an increase in the prices of raw materials and fuel costs, coupled with increased property taxes as the reason for its recent financial difficulties.

The cost of the proposed project renovations, which include the installation of a wood-fired boiler, an electrical generator, and other control technologies that will lessen air emissions, will cost approximately $12 million, including local labor and supply purchases.

The boiler could eventually generate electricity for sale on the state grid or by the town, said SI Group officials.

Green energy is really taking off, said Angelo Santabarbara, chairman of the RIDA. "We're very interested in green energy sources and green building projects. This is a great project for Rotterdam."

With the agreement, the RIDA moved one step closer to the authorization of a payment in lieu of property tax (PILOT) agreement with the company, which the SI Group said would allow them to remain in business in the town of Rotterdam.

The PILOT would be set for 15 years and would come with a sales and mortgage tax exemption.

The SI Group is located in the Schalmont School District. The PILOT agreement would remove the facility from the tax rolls, but the school would still receive a negotiated amount from the company.

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