The Albany County Legislature approved an Empire Zone designation Monday, March 10, in an industrial section of the town of Bethlehem.
World Logistics Group Inc. is a light assembly and distribution company looking to expand its business in the Feura Bush area and bring nearly 300 more jobs to town. It's an area in Bethlehem that is still recovering from 250 recent layoffs at the nearby Owens Corning plant.
This will be the second Empire Zone designation in the town of Bethlehem with the first being designated for the pending Vista Park complex.
The bill to create the new zone in Bethlehem was sponsored by the area's legislator, Democrat Tom Cotrofeld, and the Legislature's majority leader, Frank Commisso, D-Albany. When presented to the floor for a vote, the bill was nearly unanimously adopted 35-to-1, with three legislators absent.
The bill was designed to encourage the economy and bring more stability to the area, Cotrofeld said. "This is great. It's nice to see when we can encourage people to create jobs."
Empire Zones are geographically defined areas within New York that qualify businesses located within the zones to be eligible for tax breaks paid for by the state. The program was designed by lawmakers to lure businesses to the state and to specific areas of the state.
Cotrofeld was elected to represent District 34 " which lies entirely within the town of Bethlehem including parts of Elsmere, Delmar and Slingerlands " after Jack Cunningham stepped down to become the town's supervisor.
Cunningham said he sent a letter to the Albany County Legislature on behalf of the town supporting the new Empire Zone designation.
"They moved over there right around the time I took office," Cunningham said, adding that the company was interested in an Empire Zone designation in order to expand.