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July 8, 2015 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in brownfield opportunity area, batavia, downtown, business.

Press release: 

Less than a century ago, Batavia’s downtown was bustling with industry, where innovators relocated from New York City to mass produce farm implements to World War II incendiary bombs. These factories employed thousands of workers and took advantage of easy transportation, the railroad and nearby markets. But, the bygone era left a wake of deteriorating buildings, vacant lots and ground contaminants within City limits, a.k.a brownfield sites. Today, City leadership proclaims robust performance-based tax incentives available for the taking to return these underutilized or abandoned locations into vibrant mixed-use places.

In April, the New York Department of State (DOS) officially designated Batavia’s central corridor a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) listing five strategic redevelopment sites. On a parallel track, the City’s local development corporation encouraged Councilmembers to adopt real property tax exemptions and they chased other tax credits to motivate real estate investment. Bold incentives are now in place.

“We could stand by and let these properties continue to decay the neighborhood or do something about it,” City Manager Jason Molino said.

Do something about it, they have. The City has worked to increase its bond rating to A1, turned a multimillion dollar deficit into a balanced budget with capital reserves and secured more than $5,000,000 in grants to improve existing industrial areas, upgrade infrastructure and study the longtime stagnant community.

A Community Improvement Plan was released in 2012 emphasizing an upgrade in housing stock followed by local adoption of real property tax exemptions that offer 12-year tax-bill discounts for converting non-residential buildings into mixed-use spaces. Shortly after, a sizeable $265,000 New York State Department of State BOA grant enabled local activists to grease the skids even further.

“It took four years but, the grant allowed us to hire a consulting team and organize a local Steering Committee to define market opportunities, investigate the ground and write a plan to move our central business corridor into the 21st century,” Molino said. “We know our small city can offer the conveniences and experiences of a larger city, but at an affordable price.”

The challenge was to determine if the real estate community would invest in the area. Now, the market reports and community confidence suggest they will.

The expert-led and community-inspired BOA plan was formally adopted by City Council in June 2014 and handed off to the City’s local development corporation to implement. The Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) immediately retained Harris Beach PLLC, a known deal-maker in the State to guide the efforts.

“It’s funny how the BOA designation appears like a badge of honor,” said Julie Pacatte, BDC coordinator. "It reads like a proclamation from DOS. In truth, it’s bittersweet. Sad we have these blighted areas but happy it sanctions bonus tax credits rewarding investment.”

Gaining access to that tax credit program is a whole different process, according to Pacatte.

The BDC Board authorized cash reserves to extend environmental investigation and to hire Harris Beach and LaBella Associates to prepare the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) application. DEC serves as the gatekeeper to request access to the State tax credit program.

“It is a 643-page document enumerating data with compelling narrative to justify access to the program,” Pacatte said. “The BDC Board is clearly determined to advance the BOA plan.”

Unfortunately, their ambitious goal to go to market last year was stalled by expanded data collection, typical land assembly delays and uncertainty with the BCP as it under-went reform during the State’s budget process. Nevertheless, advocates still believe Batavia remains milestones ahead of other communities.

“The BDC’s approach is aggressive and recommended,” said Bob Murray, partner, Harris Beach PLLC. “To enter the BCP prior to marketing the property assures a preferred developer significant refundable NYS tax credits potentially worth up to 64 percent of total costs incurred for remediation, site preparation and new capital expended on that parcel. Not many communities are as proactive and committed.”

The BDC has released its first request for proposals addressing “Ellicott Station” a four-acre downtown redevelopment area that has confirmed acceptance to the BCP. The proposals are due next month, by Aug. 12.

“It was a no-brainer to spend the time and money necessary to line up these credits,” said Ray Chaya, BDC Board president. “No longer do we need to stand by to wait for investors, we are bringing the ROI to them.” 

For more information, visit the BDC Web site.

July 7, 2015 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, GGLDC, business, GCC.

Press release:

The ECMC Foundation provided grants totaling $219,424 to area organizations that help advance the quality of workforce and educational programs and services in Genesee County and the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties). ECMC Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles with a mission to provide investments aimed at facilitating improvements that affect educational outcomes, especially among underserved populations.

The recipients include Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, Western New York Tech Academy, Genesee Community College (GCC) and the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC). The Foundation pledged dollars to assist these organizations to help underprivileged residents in the GLOW region in obtaining better access to workforce development training and college programming.

“These grants will not only improve the quality of our region’s many educational programs and services, but also provide both high school students and adults with the critical tools and training they need to be successful in the workforce,” said  Tom Felton, president and chairman of the GGLDC. “We look forward to working with the ECMC Foundation in disbursing the funding to these very worthy organizations.”

The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, which received $100,000 of the grant, will use the funds to improve training programs for high school and adult students pursuing careers in-demand manufacturing fields, as well as purchase new machinery for its training facilities. The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership is one of 38 cooperative school districts in New York State that provides shared educational programs and services to its component school districts, including the Batavia City School District.

“The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership is honored to be included as a recipient of the ECMC Foundation grant,” said Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. “This grant aims to provide adult and high school students with new opportunities to gain employable skills.

"The scope of this grant is vast. This program will be open to high school students who attend any of the 22 component school districts served by the Partnership, as well as any student enrolled in the Partnership Adult Education Program. Our goal is to help highly skilled workers meet the emerging needs of industry within our region.”

Chuck DiPasquale, director of Programs, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, said: “This grant will be utilized to make improvements to the machining and welding programs at both Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s career and technical education centers. High school and adult students will have the opportunity to be trained on the latest and most up-to-date equipment and technology. Upon completion of the program, students will be highly qualified and ready to meet industry standards.

Western New York Tech Academy, an early college high school supporting grades 9-14, was awarded $61,710. The Academy will use the funds to enhance training programs for its at-risk students through the purchase of new workplace equipment and furniture for its classrooms.

“It’s our mission to create learning environments that support a cultural shift away from the traditional classroom and toward today’s workplace,” said Tom Schulte, principal, Western New York Tech Academy. “This can only happen if the physical space supports it, and it’s through the generosity of the ECMC Foundation that will allow us make this shift a reality.”

Genesee Community College (GCC), the recipient of a $44,390 grant, will purchase new equipment to support lab and "hands-on" learning activities in its food-processing educational programs.

"GCC's newest degree, Food Processing Technology AAS, gives residents in our rural community an opportunity to secure well-paying jobs -- such as production and quality control supervisors and safety and storage technicians," said Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, Ph.D., GCC's dean of Math, Science and Career Education.

"These are excellent careers in the burgeoning food-tech industry which are also 100-percent made in America. Funds from the ECMC Foundation will help us purchase the state-of-the-art equipment necessary for this new program including refractometers, salt, moisture and lacticheck analyzers and ebulliometers."

Lastly, the GGLDC will receive $13,324 to facilitate the coordination of the various activities of the grant recipients, including overseeing reporting requirements as stipulated in the agreement with the ECMC Foundation to monitor and track progress of each initiative.

July 3, 2015 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in New York Craft Malt, batavia, business, Beer, agriculture.

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The effort to bring back malting to Upstate New York is a multi-year process.

Working with Cornell University, Ted and Patty Hawley, owners of New York Craft Malt on Bank Street Road, Batavia, are in their third year of running trials of malting grain in Genesee County Farm fields.

There's a plot on Hawley-owned farmland off Bank Street Road and another on Porter Farms, plus the Hawleys have some grain growing on other local farms.

The trial involves 34 varieties of barley, plus wheat and oats.

"We've got to look at all aspects of it, and it's a hard go," Hawley said. "Cornell won't really give their recommendation for four or five years."

The challenges in Western New York have to do primarily with weather -- the year-to-year variances, but more importantly the overall amount of moisture in ground and air.

Malting grains are highly susceptible to fungal diseases, so what researchers want to find are those varieties that grow well in this climate and stay health without sprouting two quickly (once the grain head sprouts, it can no longer be malted).

"Our region is very finicky," Hawley said.

The process involves two key sets of analyses.

First, researchers want to determine how well a variety grows locally, or its agronomics for a farmer. It's important to determine the quality and quantity of the protein, how it germinates and its yield (more yield, more profit per acre).

Second, the grain needs to be malted. The test isn't about taste or any subjective measurement. Researchers are looking at protein, enzymes and how well it malts.

Brewers are looking for good, locally grown grains because the farm brewery law requires locally produced, craft beers to contain a certain percentage of local agriculture product.

But Hawley said local brewers and growers are also looking to produce an interest among consumers to seek out totally local beers. They are working together on a marketing plan that would provide bars with a "Local" tap that would only be attached to kegs of locally brewed beer that uses only locally grown ingredients.

"I think once the consumer wants it, brewers are going to have to give it to them and then I think it's going to grow," Hawley said.

hawleygrainjuluy2015.jpg

A two-row variety and a six-row variety.

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June 26, 2015 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Batavia Downs, business, batavia.

Dealing just with hard numbers -- setting aside speculation on hoped-for new revenue and "the multiplier effect" of jobs created -- the tax abatement plan approved Thursday by the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board for a new hotel at Batavia Downs should be profitable for taxpayers, according to data obtained by The Batavian from a GCEDC staffer.

The abatements will save developers about 11.5 percent on their $5.49 million investment, and the new taxes the project generates will be about a 100-percent return to taxpayers, if you accept the notion that the project doesn't get built at all without the tax incentives. If not, it's at least 42-percent return.

By law, the developer must certify that the project requires a tax break to be feasible, according to Rachael J. Tabelski, marketing and communications director. That is a requirement for all projects considered by the GCEDC.

"We have to trust the applicant that when they say this project won't be a viable project without the tax incentives," Tabelski said.

ADK Hospitality, the hotel's developer, will save $638,000 in taxes over the next 10 years, but it won't be getting off totally free. The hotel's owners, over the next 10 years, will pay $1.1 million in various taxes.

Tabelski was quick to point out that the $638,000 in tax breaks is not money taken from taxpayers. It's just money that isn't paid to the government; money that doesn't exist if the project isn't built. Thus, the $1.1 million in taxes ADK will pay over the next decade is all new revenue for schools, the county and the state (but not the Town of Batavia, which doesn't have its own tax on property).

That figure doesn't include sales tax generated by the hotel, or any anticipated increase in sales tax generated by the hoped-for increase in business at Batavia Downs. It also doesn't include employment taxes generated by the anticipated $600,000 in payroll for 25 full-time equivalent new hires at the hotel. 

The developers told the GCEDC Board that the project would generate a total of $2.8 million in tax revenue between now and 2025, but there isn't a breakdown available on what categories of taxes comprise that total. It likely covers fire district, property, bed tax, sales tax and payroll tax.

The $1.1 million in hard numbers we have includes:

  • $56,000 paid to the Town of Batavia Fire District;
  • $550,000 paid in county bed taxes;
  • $500,000 paid in property taxes over the life of the PILOT.

A PILOT is a tax break given to developers of projects that industrial development agencies, such as GCEDC, believe will create or retain jobs. It is a reduction in taxes on the increase in assessed value of a property.

Let's say a property is valued at $100,000. A business ads a new wing to its building and increases the assessed value to $150,000. The business continues to pay all property taxes on the initial $100,000 in assessed value, but gets a reduction in taxes on that additional $50,000. PILOT agreements vary, but typically, there would be no taxes due the first two years of the increase, and then taxes would be incrementally increased every two years until the 10th year, when the property owner is paying the full tax bill on the increase in assessed value.

In the case of the hotel property, the developers are buying land from Western OTB, which is currently tax-exempt and has no assessed value. It will be assessed next year, and its assessed value will go from zero to whatever that assessed value is, and the PILOT will be calculated based on that increase, unless the project is not yet completed, in which case there will be only a partial assessment with a full assessment to come during the next annual assessment period after the project's completion.

The PILOT on this project is worth $300,000. The remaining abatements are for the mortgage tax on the purchase and on the sales taxes due on material purchased during construction.

As for the multiplier effect, that's a controversial notion to some, but the idea is that if you create a new job and pay that person money, they will spend some amount of that money locally, and the churn of that money will help pay other people's wages, lifting everyone's boats. That $600,000 in new payroll could be worth millions in economic growth locally.

These figures also don't include wages paid to construction workers and purchases made from local vendors -- if any -- during construction.

June 25, 2015 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, business.

Press release:

WBTA Radio will temporarily suspend AM and FM transmissions on Friday morning, June 26 in order to repair antenna damage caused by severe thunderstorms earlier.

The station expects the signals will be turned off at about 10:15 a.m. as engineers reposition the station's FM antenna that was rotated 90-degrees due to strong winds.

The AM signal on 1490 was unaffected by the storm but in order for someone to safely climb the 200-foot tower on Creek Road to reach the FM antenna both signals must be shut down, explained WBTA President Dan Fischer.

“We hope the outage will last no more than 90 minutes but we will not know the extent of damage until we can inspect it close up,” Fischer said.

While the stations are off the air, programming will continue to be heard online and via mobile devices at WBTAi.com.

June 23, 2015 - 7:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, business.

The number of people with jobs in Genesee County has improved, according to statistics released today by the state Department of Labor.

The sunnier employment picture for local residents comes a couple of weeks after a labor department report revealed that the county fell flat on in-county job growth in May, but the same jobs report showed an increase in the workforce in Monroe and Erie counties.

There are 300 more local residents with jobs now than there were a year ago, according to today's report. The total has climbed from 28,900 in May 2014 to 29,200 this May.

That puts the Genesee County unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, compared to 5.0 in May 2014.

The 4.7-percent rate is low, but not the lowest figure of the past 12 months. The rate was 4.6 in October. In the past 12 months it's been as high as 6.8 percent, which was the figure in January.

The unemployment rate in Wyoming County is 5.2 percent, down form 5.8 percent a year ago. In Orleans it's dropped from 7.0 to 6.2 and in Livingston, from 5.7 to 5.1.

The state rate is 5.3 percent and the national rate is 5.3.

June 23, 2015 - 7:13pm
posted by Traci Turner in GCEDC, Batavia Downs, batavia, business.

An attorney representing the Clarion Hotel and members of the community voiced concerns regarding the application submitted by ADK Hospitality, LLC, to Genesee County Economic Development Center for incentives to build a hotel at Batavia Downs.

A public hearing was held Monday night by the GCEDC to gain input from the community on the application they received from ADK, a private developer seeking to build a hotel at Batavia Downs, requesting approximately $630,000 in incentives.

Vivek Thiagarajan, attorney representing Clarion owner Chat Patel, argued that when his client looked into applying for GCEDC incentives to build the Palm Island Indoor Waterpark in 2012 he was told the project would be denied funding because it was not considered a tourist destination. Thiagarajan argued that ADK's hotel is not a tourist destination and Batavia Downs should not receive tax incentives either. 

"There is no tourist destination about the hotel itself," Thiagarajan said. "Maybe the name makes it look like it's affiliated with Batavia Downs but the hotel is merely just like any other hotel. As a result, the public shouldn't be forced to fund something that only benefits the private owners of that hotel."

Thiagarajan also argued that the purchase price of $600,000 is less than the $630,000 in incentives the project would receive from the GCEDC.

In addition to Thiagarajan's opposition, John Sackett, a past county legislator, questioned whether the hotel would create full-time jobs and believed the hotel should be built without incentives.

A representative from the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters expressed concern over whether Batavia Downs and ADK would use union construction workers to build the hotel. The union agreed it would support the hotel project if union construction workers were used.

A variety of local businesses wrote letters in support of the proposal. The businesses included Sport of Kings Restaurant, Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, Sloat Tire Shop, Genesee Feeds, Nothnagle Realtors, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, WNY Harness Horsemen's Association and U.S. Foods. The businesses stated that Batavia Downs is a primary asset for attracting tourism and the addition of the hotel would bring more people and business to the community.

Anthony Baynes, managing member of ADK, provided details on the hotel project and the economic impact it would have on Genesee County. In the presentation, Baynes stated the $5.5-million hotel will be a four-story structure with 84 rooms. Itl will also be connected to Batavia Downs Gaming and complement the design elements of the new gaming entrance. There will be no restaurant or bar in the hotel.

"The hotel will positively impact Batavia Downs and local tourism on a permanent basis," Baynes said. "It will generate incremental gaming, banquet, food and beverage revenue at Batavia Downs, which will result in increases in tax collection, jobs preserved and additional jobs created."

According to Michael Nolan, vice president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting, the corporation that owns Batavia Downs, the hotel will help the gaming industry expand and allow them to compete with other casinos that are building hotels.

The hotel will result in the creation of 23 jobs. There also will be more job growth due to the number of wedding and conventions Batavia Downs will host because of the hotel.

"We think our banquet facility is going to multiple 10 times due to the hotel," Nolan said. "It's well within reason that there will be 50 jobs coming with the addition of the hotel."

According to statistics provided by Hotel & Leisure Advisors, a national hospitality consultant firm, the total impact of the new gaming revenue, new food and beverage sale and increased banquet business will be $2.6 million for the first year of operation. In the first 10 years of operation, the impact will be $31 million.

The GCEDC Board of Directors is having a special public meeting to consider a final resolution for the project. The meeting will be held at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre.

June 18, 2015 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, business.

Year-over-year job growth for Genesee County was stagnant in May, according to data released by the Department of Labor.

In May of 2014 and 2015, there were 23,900 jobs locally, according to the department's count.

The unchanged non-farm jobs number comes in a month that New York State as a whole added more than 142,000 jobs, jumping from 9.133 million jobs to 9.276 million jobs.

The Rochester area added 7,100 jobs and the Buffalo region added 13,000.

Wyoming County was also flat in jobs growth for May, holding steady at 13,500 jobs. The data for Livingston and Orleans counties are included in the Monroe County data.

June 17, 2015 - 11:12pm
posted by Traci Turner in nursing home, business.

The County Legislature has voted to sell the Genesee County Nursing Home to Premier Healthcare Management, LLC, for $15.2 million at the Ways and Means Committee Meeting tonight.

The final details of the contract still have to be finished and signed by the legislature. As an alternative until the contract is finalized, the legislature has issued a letter of intent for the sale and transfer of Genesee County Skilled Nursing Facility and Genesee County Adult Home.

The letter of intent is needed so Premier can meet the Department of Health's application deadline for licenses and certificates of need. The entire process can take anywhere from six to nine months.

Premier owns several nursing home facilities and is a well known for-profit healthcare corporation in New York.

"There will be no reduction in the quality of care at our nursing home, which is our biggest concern,” Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini said. “The fact that they can do it at a profit is something I give them credit for. They have a different set of parameters that they work within that allows them to do that. This is not the only nursing home they own so they have the economy of scale they can use to make profits. That doesn't bother me at all."

Members of the legislature were impressed after touring their facilities and talking with residents.

Legislator Marianne Clattenburg said she believes Premier can provide advancements to the nursing home that the county couldn’t do.

“What struck me was their willingness to make investments,” Clattenburg said. “We saw one facility that had a multimillion-dollar dialysis unit installed after they had taken over the building.”

Finding a qualified buyer for the nursing home has been an extensive process.

“It was a long thorough process,” said Legislator Frank Ferrando Jr.. “Right from the beginning nothing happened rashly or quickly. Places were visited and questions were asked. We interviewed eight from a list of 14 that were original applicants. I’m very confident this is going to be a real plus for our community.”

When the contract is finalized, Premier plans to seek community input and will hold community meetings and forums for families and employees.

According to county officials, after debts are paid the county hopes to net $6.7 million from the sale.

 

June 16, 2015 - 6:31pm
posted by Traci Turner in Le Roy, gallery, arts, coffee shop, business.

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(Shaina Czudak and Jim DeLooze)

58 on Main, the art gallery and coffee shop in Le Roy, has been providing locals with art, coffee and a friendly place to chat for a year now.

In celebration of its one-year anniversary, the shop handed out free birthday cake and gave customers a chance to win a photo booth party.

Jim DeLooze, local artist and photographer, and Sean Valdes, co-owner of D & R Depot, run the shop together.

The combination of art and coffee has been a hit in the community. Customers can take painting, pottery and photography classes as well as enjoy a coffee and pastry. Paint nights and pottery painting classes are offered on Friday nights. Photography classes for beginners are offered on Saturday mornings.

The shop also has room for events like small parties. The parties come with the option of catering from D & R Depot and a photo booth.

"It's a real accomplishment for a small startup business to survive a year," DeLooze said. "The art gallery and coffee shop really complement one another and I don't think I could have ran the gallery as a stand alone business."

In the future, the shop hopes to offer pottery birthday parties for children and welcomes any local artists who would like to teach a class to contact them.

June 16, 2015 - 2:09pm
posted by Jess Wheeler in batavia, movies, business, entertainment, Godzilla: Heritage, films.

“We live in a world of gods and monsters,” Mitchell Lawerence, played by Alexander native, Tim Schiefer, said. “We’re simply here to tell the story.”

What story is Schiefer trying to tell? The story of “Godzilla: Heritage.” 

Schiefer and Director Greg Graves have been working on the film for six years. It’s all coming to fruition. However, to make the movie the way they have always pictured it, the crew needs help raising money.

Rashaad Santiago and Chris Barbis filming the teaser. Photo courtesy of Tim Schiefer

Thirty-Six days remain for the project’s crowd-funded Kickstarter. They have so far reached $10,463 of the $40,000 goal. If the project does not get fully funded, the production will not receive any of the money raised.

This is the second kickstarter campaign following a successful lead. The first time, the crew asked for $10,000 and received almost $20,000. The money that was raised went toward nicer cameras, travel, filming the teaser and the creation of the monster suits.

The suits are being made by season six winner of the SyFy network show "Faceoff," Rashaad Santiago. Santiago moved to Batavia to help with the movie. Godzilla has been a fascination of his since he was a child.

“For me, he was an escape from reality growing up,” Santiago said. “My mom recorded seven or eight hours of a Godzilla marathon when I was younger. I would watch it on loop until the film popped.”

Schiefer and Graves brought several other professionals onto the project. They include Chris Barbis, Kyle Gilmore, Tyler Graves, Billy Rupp and Christopher Bloomer. Bloomer has done visual effects for “Zombieland” and “Dragonball: Evolution.”

The cast and crew need the money to finish making the monster costumes, pay actors, promote the film, for anticipated filming permits and other expenses.

“Eighty to 90 percent of the movie will be filmed in Batavia,” Schiefer said.

Ken Mistler, owner of several local businesses, including City Slickers, has donated the spaces that “Godzilla: Heritage” will be filmed in. Additionally, the movie may need to be filmed outside on a street and permits would be necessary.

The character of Godzilla is not in the public domain. In fact, he’s heavily trademarked. It is for this reason that Scheifer and his team are creating the film as a fan film. No money will be made off of this production. They are making the film strictly for the passion they have for Godzilla.

“As massive fans, we wanted to do something different,” Santiago said.

“We want to make the movie that we’ve wanted to see,” Schiefer added.

There are rewards for financially supporting “Godzilla: Heritage” and any amount helps. Still, the crew is looking for donations of any kind.

“Any local investor is helping local kids do something that has never been done around here before,” Schiefer said.

To financially support the film, visit the Kickstarter and check out their Facebook page.

June 15, 2015 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, mucklands, business.

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The weather is once again playing havoc with the potential onion crop in the mucklands.

Early in the season, it was too dry and too hot. Now, saturated ground is stressing some tender plants.

Perhaps as much as 20 percent of the crop won't make it to harvest.

Paul Mortellaro said the situation is hardly a disaster at this point.

"It would be nice to get some normal weather," Mortellaro said, "rather than ' it's too hot, it's too cold, it's too dry, it's too wet.' "

June 13, 2015 - 11:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in State Street Animal Hospital, batavia, business.

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Heather Volpe and her granddaughter Myla, 18 months, visit with a calf during the open house for State Street Hospital this morning. The open house, which includes visits with animals, a tour of the facility and demonstrations of medical equipment, door prizes and ice cream, continues until 3 p.m.

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Gary Zimmerman with Clacker.

June 12, 2015 - 3:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nursing home, business.

The County Legislature is poised to accept what County Manager Jay Gsell characterized as the "highest and best offer" from a qualified buyer on the Genesee County Nursing Home.

The county received eight purchase proposals, Gsell said, and the recommended buyer is not only well qualified but also submitted the highest bid.

The details of the purchase agreement are not yet public and more details should be available when the Legislature meets in a special Committee of the Whole Meeting following the 4:30 p.m. Ways and Means Committee meeting Wednesday, in the Old Courthouse.

For years, county officials have maintained the nursing home is a multimillion-dollar drain on the county's budget and that state officials have been maneuvering counties toward the sale of such facilities by strangling state aid. Financial disclosures provided to potential buyers show the nursing home's losses have been piling up, with losses of $2.9 million in 2011, $3.7 in 2012 and $4.3 million in 2013.

A non-government agency (whether a not-for-profit group or for-profit company) will have greater flexibility in generating revenue than the highly regulated government-owned facility, plus have greater leeway in reducing expenses, and it won't be facing a squeeze on funding from the State of New York, according to county officials.

The anticipated vote by the Legislature is just the first step in a long process that could last up to nine months to complete the sale.

While Gsell said legislators have been doing their due diligence to ensure the anticipated buyer is qualified, the state has its own investigative process before it will OK transferring what's called a "certificate of need" to the new owner. The nursing home has two such certificates.

"At this point, with the deadlines the state has on financing nursing homes, especially adult operations like we have, the Legislature would like to start that process now," Gsell said. "The state conducts what it calls a character and compliance review and that could take six to nine months. That's what other counties have been through, including our neighbor to the north."

While Gsell would not at this time disclose the name of the buyer, citing purchase agreement restrictions, he said it is a company based in New York. That's one of the details that could be made public Wednesday.

For previous nursing home coverage, click here.

June 12, 2015 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, batavia, land use, planning, O-AT-KA Milk Products, business.

A proposed expansion of the O-AT-KA Milk Products plant at Cedar Street and Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, received a vote of approval from the County Planning Board on Thursday night.

O-AT-KA is contemplating adding a 194,543-square-foot building and a 35,279-square-foot building that will serve as warehouse space and a distribution center.

A spokesman for O-AT-KA repeated several times to reporters last night that the expansion remains a proposal at this time. There's no information available on how O-AT-KA's business might be expanding as a result of the new space.

The location of the new structures would be on the east side of the plant with vehicle access off of Ellicott Street Road.

The board recommended approval of a site plan review with recommended modifications for a stormwater pollution-prevention plan prior to final approval by the city.

Also on Thursday:

The board recommended approval of a site plan review for a 1,620-square-foot addition to the Pavilion Public Library. The expansion, which will include a new children's wing, is funded in part by a $200,000 donation from Edgar Mary Louis Hollwedel. Deborah Davis said the library is also seeking a state grant. The size of that grant could exceed $200,000.

The board recommended disapproval of a zoning map change on South Lake Road in Pavilion. Superior Plus Energy Services was seeking the change to develop a bulk storage and truck distribution center for bulk propane. The 32-acre site is currently zoned agriculture-residential and Superior Plus Energy is seeking a change to industrial. Staff's recommendation was for disapproval because the change would be inconsistent with the town's comprehensive plan and the Future Land Use Map, which plans for agriculture use or residential with minimum lot sizes of five acres.

A planned Dollar General store in Pavilion received recommended approval for its sign. The sign design presented previously by Moeller Sign Co. wasn't approved because it would have meant a sign larger than currently allowed in the zoning code. The new design complies with the code.

June 12, 2015 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Brighton Securities, batavia, downtown, business.

shredday2015.jpg

It's shred day at Brighton Securities. Anybody with documents to shred can bring them to their tent set up in the parking lot on East Main Street, Batavia, next to the Chamber of Commerce. They will be there until 3 p.m. and even serve you cookies and a beverage.

Pictured are Brittany Weeks, Christina Gregory, and George Arnold from Brighton Securities, and Mark Bonin, of Shred-Text.

shredday2015-2.jpg

shredday2015-3.jpg

June 9, 2015 - 3:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business.

The second annual Hometown Trail has kicked off and a variety of shops in Genesee County have joined together to offer shoppers a fun way to explore unique storess and win prizes along the way.

The Hometown Trail 2015 shops and their communities include:

  • Country Hill -- Pavilion
  • The Hobby Horse -- Le Roy
  • The Artisans @YWCA North Street -- Batavia
  • Harrington's Produce Market -- Batavia
  • Torrey’s Market -- Elba
  • The Mill -- Elba
  • Mulberry Station -- Pembroke
  • Kozy Kabin -- Corfu
  • Berried Treasures -- Darien Center
  • Country Cottage -- Darien Center

Maps can be found at any of these shops. Trail-goers can explore along the way and get their map stamped at each store until the end of August when maps will be turned in for prize drawings. Find out more on The Hometown Trail Facebook Page.

June 5, 2015 - 2:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced that it will host a “Taking Your Small Business Global” Export Workshop on Thursday, June 11, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Innovation Zone at MedTech Centre in Batavia.

The workshop, presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, will provide participants with critical information about export financing and creating an export plan.

“We believe it’s important to provide our stakeholders with key resources and access to individuals who can help them grow and expand their small businesses on a larger scale,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC. “We are pleased to host this event which we hope will give small business owners in our region the valuable tools and knowledge they need to take their business global.”

 To register, please visit events.sba.gov or contact Greg Lindberg at (716) 551-5670. The workshop is free.

June 5, 2015 - 8:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) accepted applications for assistance from Manning Squires Henning Co., Inc., and ADK Hospitality, LLC, at its June 4, 2015 board of directors meeting.

Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is proposing to expand its corporate offices and maintenance facilities in the Town of Batavia by up to 5,000 square feet. The project also would include renovations of the company’s existing shop and office space.

Founded in 1958, Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is a general contractor that has worked on various high profile projects over the years including work at the Rochester School of the Arts, Kodak Park, Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse, Monroe Community College, and Bausch & Lomb Rundell Library among many others.

Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is seeking sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $170,556 in estimated incentives. The capital investment would be approximately $1.3 million and would retain 88 jobs and create five new jobs.

ADK Hospitality, LLC, is proposing to build an 82-room hotel connected to Batavia Down’s gaming facility. ADK Hospitality, LLC, is seeking an estimated $638,193 in sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment is approximately $5.49 million.

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