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Tech tenant taxes a hot topic

Decision delayed on abatement for Breonics, potential Vista occupant

A ShopRite grocery store is on schedule to open in the Vista Technology Park in late September, with more businesses to follow.

A ShopRite grocery store is on schedule to open in the Vista Technology Park in late September, with more businesses to follow. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— Although it had been previously believed Breonics alone would be bringing 44 new jobs to the campus, Nicolla said that figure is the expected job count for the entire building. The building would cost about $5.4 million to build.

“We would like to start construction soon, because Breonics has to be in this year,” Nicolla said. “They are out of space, they are expanding and they need to be in.”

Four people spoke in favor of the project and the tax breaks at the public hearing, including Supervisor John Clarkson, the school district’s Chief Business and Financial Officer Judith Kehoe and two members of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce.

“I think this is the big one we’ve been waiting for for some time. Maybe not the biggest one, but big enough anyway,” said Clarkson.

The supervisor said he knows many in the town were unhappy the IDA granted advanced tax abatements to the grocery store and two banks, but he believes that plan was successful in attracting technology tenants and he now supports the idea of giving those same abatements to those technology users.

“Are we giving up anything? Would there be anything now at all if we hadn’t taken the steps that we did?” asked Clarkson. “I think the common sense view point will tell you no.”

Former Supervisor Jack Cunningham also spoke at the hearing and said he was in favor of the project and the IDA granting sales andabatement. However, he said he was concerned about giving so much tax relief when agreements are not secure for all the building’s tenants, ensured job creation figures are low and Breonics’ business plan is, in his opinion, not solid.

“If you’re going to make a decision of this magnitude, I think you need to have a lot more to support it,” Cunningham told IDA members.

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