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May 9, 2017 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DePaul, batavia, business, news.

Three pieces of property snug in the middle of other housing and commercial parcels should remain, at least for the time being, available for industrial use, the City Council decided Monday night on a 3-6 vote.

The decision ends, perhaps permanently, a bid by DePaul Properties to build an 80-unit apartment complex at 661, 665 and 679 E. Main St., Batavia, that would have provided housing for people with disabilities, elderly residents lacking mobility, and veterans with special needs.

Developer Mark Fuller didn't rule out trying to build the complex sometime in the future -- the property is likely to be rezoned as part of the city's revision of its comprehensive plan -- but he sounded a sour note as he discussed the council's rejection of the rezoning resolution, and hence, his project.

"I really don’t want to go into communities where we’re not well received," Fulle said. "There’s yet to be a community that hasn’t wanted us to come in. If the community is still against it if it’s zoned differently, I just don’t know that I want to put energy into a community that is not behind it."

Fuller is a Genesee County resident and said he was baffled by the community's response to the project proposal, which would have represented a $25 million local investment by DePaul and increased the current tax revenue for the city four times over the current tax revenue, plus generated significant revenue for sewer and water hookups.

The PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement DePaul Properties was willing to enter into for the project would have actually obligated DePaul to pay more in taxes than otherwise required for a nonprofit under Property & Tax Law section 581(a).

In other communities where Fuller has overseen the development of DePaul projects there has been nothing but positive feedback he said, including West Seneca, which he said saw an increase in property values around the DePaul project there.

"We had a press conference in Rome this morning where 80 people showed up thanking us for coming and every single City Council member came up and thanked me for developing there," Fuller said. "We have a lot of projects across the state. We get calls all the time, so I think I’m going to put my energy into communities that want the redevelopment and investment."

The housing is needed in Batavia, Fuller said, because currently the people who might live in the complex are stuck in substandard housing for their needs or unable to live independently because of the lack of adequate housing for their needs. The market for this housing is very different from standard rentals, he said, and wouldn't be competition for existing landlords.

Fuller's comments came after a lengthy City Council session that included public comments both for and against the project and remarks from council members who both supported and opposed letting DePaul build on the property.

The nay votes came from Bob Bialkowski, Paul Viele, Kathy Briggs, Al McGinnis, John Canale, and Council President Eugene Jankowski.

Many of the DePaul supporters were clients of DePaul or otherwise associated with the organization.

Quentin Call said that DePaul has been an asset to every community where it has built a project and that even though it's a nonprofit, through a special Payment In Lieu of Taxes arrangement, DePaul will increase funding for the city over the property's present commercial use. 

"I’m not sure if any industrial uses have been proposed for the property, however in regards to the PILOT program, any industrial facility that might come in would be seeking that designation as well," Call noted.

Pastor Marty Macdonald, from City Church, and himself a local landlord, said he believes, based on his experience as a landlord and pastor of a large church, that the community needs the additional handicapped accessible housing from DePaul.

"I’m going at this from a humanitarian position, but business side as well, that there is a need for housing and there is going to be a greater need for housing," Macdonald said. "Batavia will not stay the same as it is. There are too many great things going on. I’m thankful for that and I hope you are, too."

Batavia resident John Roach was among the speakers casting doubts on the need for more apartments in Batavia. He said including DePaul, there are an additional 180 to 190 apartment units currently on the drawing board for Batavia.

"You’re already going to have one 100 new apartments in areas that are already zoned for it," Roach said. "We don’t need these 80 rooms."

George Gallegher said something industrial or commercial should go on the property, not apartments run by a nonprofit.

"This isn’t the best use of our land resources that are capable of generating tax income," Gallegher said. "Now they want to add two more tax exempt PILOT programs again right on Main Street. The people that I talk to who are well versed in where properties should be and how they should be used, they said that’s not very smart."

John Gerace argued the property should remain zoned industrial.

"The City Manager apparently must be clairvoyant to say that there will never be any development on that property that is industrial," Gerace said. "Who knew what happened in the city years and years ago --- what’s going to happen down the road a year from now, two years from now, and what that property could be used for and on the tax record."

DePaul, he said, like anybody else, was just looking to make money.

"DePaul is going to receive dollar for dollar tax credits," Gerace said. "That’s $25 million in tax credits. Why do they want to build this? Because there’s money in it. And yes, will it serve a purpose for our community, absolutely, and I’m all for helping our seniors, our veterans, our needy folks. This is not the project for it, unfortunately, and it should not be here in Batavia. I don’t know why it’s not in Le Roy."

It's not clear where Gerace is getting the $25 million tax credit figure. There's no public document available to support the assertion. Also, there already is a DePaul project being considered for Le Roy.

When it came time for council members to address the issue, Councilwoman Patti Pacino spoke up first and said as somebody about to turn 70, her need for a place to live such as DePaul is only about a decade away. She said her and her husband, a disabled veteran, will want a place with the ease-of-access the DePaul project was offering and that currently there isn't an adequate supply of such housing in Batavia.

"You know what, I don’t want to live in Le Roy," Pacino said. "I don’t want to live in Stafford. I don’t want to live in the Town of Batavia. I want to live in the city I grew up in and I helped make better in any number of ways, working with children, church organizations, City Council.

"There are lovely apartments here if you happen to be a young person," she added, "but guess what guys, all the sudden you look in the mirror and you’re looking at your mother’s face and her hand is coming out your sleeve."

She said she favored tabling the resolution until the city completes its comprehensive plan and the county completes its housing study so the council could make a decision with more information available. The motion to table failed on a 4-5 vote.

Councilman John Canale also supported tabling the resolution, but ultimately voted against the rezone, saying it was one of the hardest decisions he's wrestled with in four-and-a-half years on council, but it was what his constituents wanted.

"I feel that at this point I just can’t support this because I know we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about rezoning if DePaul hadn’t come froward with this project," Canale said.

Councilman Adam Tabelski spoke at length about the rezoning issue, arguing that dropping the industrial zone designation was the only reasonable approach the council could take.

"That (industrial zoning) is very difficult to justify in my opinion when nobody is out marketing it as such," Tabelski said. "The fact is, industrial development has not had a history at all at that site. In fact, as Councilman (Bob) Bialkowski mentioned, its history has been residential and commercial. If we are waiting for some factory to be built on this location, we’re waiting for a ship that is never going to come in."

Tabeliski noted that nearly every property to the east of the three parcels is currently residential and all the properties to the west are commercial.

"Across the street, you have an ice cream shop, a gas station, a car wash and an auto parts store," Tabelski said. "It makes no sense to me how a C2 designation is somehow out of character with that immediate neighborhood."

He said keeping the property zoned industrial is just inviting something out of character, that will upset area residents, to be built on the property. The council should listen to the city's own planning board, which recommended rezoning, and the County Planning Board, which also supported the rezoning.

"These are the experts who are supposed to guide us on land use, both in the short term and the long term, and to ignore their expertise and experience does them and us a big disservice," Tabelski said. "We have a reputable developer knocking on our door willing to invest $25 million in our community and our goal is to create opportunities for our residents. I think we need to welcome it."

May 8, 2017 - 6:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, business, start-up genes.

Start-Up Genesee will hold a “Think & Drink” event focused on starting a business in the Village of Bergen from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 22.

Learn about doing business on Main Street; look at successful downtown business operations; tour existing spaces for sale and lease; take a recreational trail tour and make a stop at the Bergen farmers’ market.

It starts at 4 p.m. at the Village of Bergen Office, 11 N. Lake Ave. in Bergen. Meet the Mayor, Anna Marie Barclay, who has made downtown business development and recreation a priority.

At 4:30 p.m., the tour begins. Stop at local businesses, including Pivot Acupuncture and Physical Therapy, Greg’ry’s Bakery, Ralph & Rosie’s, Craft Supplies Unlimited, Luke’s Hair Salon, and the Bergen School of the Arts.

Vacant buildings will be open to visit and see plans for renovations. This will be a good opportunity for businesses looking for space and developers looking for  investiment property to explore options in Bergen.

Then at 5:30 p.m, meet at Hickory Park and check out the interactive exercise trails and disk golf within the village and visit the new downtown farmers’ market.

RSVP by calling Rachael Tabelski at (585) 343-4866 or email her at [email protected]

May 5, 2017 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved incentives to Genesee Valley Transportation for the proposed expansion of the company’s cross dock facility. Meanwhile, the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) Board of Directors approved revolving loan funds for capital projects at the Batavia Brewing Company and Liberti, Valvo & Associates LLC.

Genesee Valley Transportation will invest approximately $1 million to expand its dry dock facility from 25,000 square feet to 37,160 square feet in order to meet increased customer demand. The estimated amount of incentives is $142,138 and for every $1 of public benefit the company is investing $4 into the local and regional economy. The expansion project will help retain 10 jobs.

“GVT is a critical component of the region’s transportation infrastructure,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “This infrastructure is another asset that our sales and marketing team can utilize to sell and promote the region for economic development opportunities.”

The GGLDC Board approved requests for two loans from its revolving loan program.

The Batavia Brewing Company requested a $150,000 loan from the Batavia Micropolitan Area Community Redevelopment Loan Fund (Redevelopment Loan Fund) to assist with its $3.6 million rehabilitation project at the historic Newbury building in Downtown Batavia. The company will convert the upper floors to apartments, create a brewing area in the basement, and build a taproom and restaurant as well as incubator space for FreshLAB on the first floor.

Liberti, Valvo & Associates LLC received approval for a $50,000 loan as part of a $275,000 business project. It is a manufacturers' sales representative agency that specializes in quality safety and utility products in markets in New York, New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Ontario, Canada.

“The revolving loan program continues to provide our small businesses opportunities to expand and grow,” said Thomas H. Felton, GGLDC chairman. “It is an important resource our agency can provide to our small business sector, which is the backbone of our regional economy.”

The GCEDC and GGLDC board meetings were conducted on May 4 in the Innovation Zone at 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia.

May 3, 2017 - 6:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, careers, jobs, batavia, schools, education, news, business.

fordfuturetechboces2017.jpg

Automotive techs are in demand and the demand is growing, according to Peter DeLacy, owner of DeLacy Ford in East Aurora, which is why the WNY Ford Dealers started a program three years ago to donate cars with "real world" experience to local high schools.

The goal is to help and encourage high school students with an interest in auto repair to stick with it as a career choice and gain valuable experience working on cars with some of the last technological advancements.

"They're often working on 15-year-old cars and there isn't much interest in working on cars that don't have the latest technology," DeLacy said.

Yesterday, the dealers donated at 2014 Ford Fusion to the automotive shop at BOCES.

"We rely on donations like this in order for our kids to get the best training possible so that when they leave school, they can go right out to the workforce and do the best they can," said BOCES in Batavia Principal Jon Sanfratello (speaking at the podium in the photo above).

The dealers pool their resources to acquire cars from Ford Credit that have come out of the lease program. Delacy said auto teachers want cars with some mileage on them and in need of some maintenance, not brand-new cars, for their students to work on. Once the dealers have ensured all auto shop programs in the region have cars, they will start a three- or four-year rotation process of providing newer slightly used vehicles to the schools so students always have close to the latest technology at their fingertips.

There isn't much about a Ford or a GM or a Toyota that is so proprietary that a student can't learn a broad range of applicable skills, regardless of which car it is, Delacy said. Many car components, and the technology today that enables and manages them, are built to government-mandated specifications, so when a tech hooks up a diagnostic computer to a car, the readout is the same regardless of the make or model.

"The diagnostic codes, how you access the primary powertrain control module, how you do all of these things is pretty much the same for all manufacturers," Delacy said.

The goal for the Ford dealers, of course, is to ensure as many young techs come out of high school and two years of college with an interest in working at Ford dealerships, but as long as there are more techs in the market, it's better for everybody.

"The technicians we have now, they’ve put their time in and they want to retire," Delacy said. "There’s not a big pool of talent to choose from, so knowing that the Ford dealers of Western New York, including myself, decided to ask, ‘where do we get technicians? How do we get them interested?’ Because a lot of people don’t want to get into that. They want to be other things and this is a very good pay program when you get into the dealership level."

It's a good career choice, Delacy said, because it's stable, it pays well and dealership jobs are good jobs, and since the only college required is couple of years at a community college, so the career makes sense financially.

"The great part is it's not a huge investment," Delacy said. "They don't have student loans to pay for five or 10 years. They’re out in the real world, earning real money, keeping their money and investing it, so we’re on the ground floor of great opportunity, allowing students to get a good education and they’re ready to go when they get out of college and they don’t have a huge debt load, so it’s a win-win-win for everybody."

May 3, 2017 - 2:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, business, Tompkins Bank of Castile.

Tompkins Bank of Castile has promoted Mark Brooks to small business lending manager, following the retirement of Mark Barber.

Brooks has been with Tompkins Bank of Castile for more than nine years, most recently serving as commercial banking officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics/finance from Niagara University and an MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Mark has been an integral part of our small business lending program for several years,” said John McKenna, president and CEO. “He is committed to helping small businesses prosper and grow, and we’re looking forward to seeing all that he will accomplish.”

Brooks’ promotion coincides with the introduction of the new small business loans program, Lightning Loans. A fast turnaround business loan program, Lightning Loans features a streamlined online application process that allows customers to quickly apply for an affordable business loan and receive a decision in days or sooner.

“Lightning Loans will make it easy to apply for a loan from the comfort of home, but if you would like personal help, our employees and I are available to help you through the process,” said Brooks.

A native of Pavilion, he and his wife, Cherie, reside in Le Roy.

May 3, 2017 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and the Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) Board of Directors will consider taking action on three projects at its meeting on May 4 in the Innovation Zone board room on 99 Medtech Drive, Batavia, starting at 4 p.m.

The Board will vote on whether to approve incentives to Genesee Valley Transportation for the proposed expansion of the company’s cross dock facility. The $1 million capital investment will expand the facility from 25,000 square feet to 37,160 square feet in order to meet increased customer demand. The estimated amount of incentives is $142,138 and for every $1 of public benefit the company is investing $4 into the local and regional economy.

Two companies are seeking to tap into the GGLDC’s revolving loan program. Batavia Brewing Company, located in the renovated Newberry building in Downtown Batavia, is requesting a $150,000 loan to rehabilitate the second and third floors for high-end apartments as part of a $2.6 million project. The basement will be converted into a brewing room and a bar and restaurant and space for FreshLAB tenants are planned for the first floor.

Liberti, Valvo & Associate LLC, a manufacturers' sales representative agency that specializes in quality safety and utility products in markets in New York, New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Ontario, Canada, is seeking a $50,000 loan for a $275,000 business project.

The GCEDC Board meeting is open to the public.

May 1, 2017 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, environment, schools, education, business, news.

Press release:

International recording artist, environmentalist, and educator, Mr. Eco, will be visiting John Kennedy Primary School on Tuesday, May 9th at 9:30 a.m. for a special performance. Mr. Eco combines hip hop music with lyrics that inspire children to be environmentally conscientious.

The event is being sponsored by the Building Technologies Division at Siemens and hosted in conjunction with the fourth-grade innovators STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programing at John Kennedy School and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

Mr. Eco’s songs emphasize the active role we all have in creating a sustainable culture, decreasing energy usage, increasing recycling, and working to keep communities free of litter. He has performed for more than 135,000 children across the United States, Canada, Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, St. Lucia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“Conveying how important it is to take care of our environment to children at a young age is critically important,” said Christopher Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City School District.

“We want to ensure that our students develop environmentally friendly habits early on and we are really looking forward to having Mr. Eco teach them this in such a fun way. We are also very proud of our fourth-grade innovators program and the STEAM course work they have completed this year, so this will be a natural extension of what these students have been learning.”

Siemens’ sponsorship of the concert is in keeping with its support of student achievement, STEAM and sustainability.

“We are excited to honor the students at John Kennedy and the leadership at Batavia City School District for their outstanding accomplishments this year,” said Joseph Peters, Northeast zone manager, Siemens’ Building Technologies Division.     

“An important component of economic development is mitigating the impact of construction projects and other infrastructure work on the surrounding environment,” said Chris Suozzi, vice president of Business Development at GCEDC.

“We need to prepare the future workforce of our county and region to understand this delicate balance so that we can continue growing the economy while protecting the environment.”

For more information about Mr. Eco please visit www.mreco.org.

May 1, 2017 - 12:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, darien lake theme park, Darien, business.

Press release:

Darien Lake, Western New York’s largest theme park, will open for its 54th season on Saturday, May 6. The park plans to continue its long-standing role as Western New York’s premier homegrown family destination.

The season will kick off with a Season Pass Holder Appreciation Day on opening day, May 6. Each season pass holder who visits the park that day will receive an additional free bring-a-friend ticket that’s good for any day this season, as well as a Buy One, Get One Free discount on the park’s new games, “Strike U Up” and “Slapshot.”

2017 marks a momentous landmark occasion for the park’s signature coaster – the Viper. Upon completion in 1982, the Viper brought Darien Lake international attention as the home to the first steel coaster in the world to feature five inversions. The coaster also features a blackout tunnel and a gut-wrenching 70-foot drop – the ultimate experience for thrill-seekers. In honor of the park’s most beloved ride, a special 35th anniversary party will be held in June.

“Many of our guests throughout the years have pinpointed the first time they were tall enough to ride the Viper as one of their fondest memories,” said Darien Lake General Manager Chris Thorpe. “Thirty-five years later, it’s a wonderful thing to see those guests bring their children and grandchildren here to recreate that special moment.”

It is truly the “Year of Traditions” at Darien Lake this season. Not only will the Viper be turning 35, but The Darien Lake Amphitheater will be celebrating its 25th season of concerts this summer.

To commemorate this special occasion, Darien Lake and Live Nation have partnered to enhance the experience and value for concertgoers this year. Every ticket purchased for a 2017 season concert will also include free admission to Darien Lake Theme Park on the same day as the show.

“By inviting all our concert guests to join us in the theme park before the show, there’s a truly unique opportunity for fun,” Thorpe said. “Where else can you ride coasters all day and rock out all night with the greatest stars in the music industry?”

Darien Lake’s 25-year partnership with Live Nation is just one of several long-standing business relationships that have brought added value to park guests while supporting the local economy. Darien Lake proudly partners with Western New York brands including Tops Friendly Markets, Perry’s Ice Cream, Anchor Bar, Tim Hortons, Sahlen’s and Tyson. Darien is also welcoming a new partner this year – PepsiCo., which means the region’s favorite Pepsi products including the popular Buffalo drink, Loganberry, will be available in park.

For more information on season passes, concerts or accommodations, visit www.DarienLake.com.

May 1, 2017 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, business, batavia, sports.

Press release:

The 2017 Empire Cup College Showcase has teamed with Elite Tournaments and U.S. Youth Soccer Region 1 to bring the Eastern Regional League to Batavia. Over the next two weekends (May 6-7 and 13-14) Genesee County will host more than 3,000 soccer players, plus coaches, families and fans, as the tournaments are played at the Batavia Sports Park and Genesee Community College fields.

Historically this tournament draws teams from throughout New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Canada. With this new partnership, the event has shown significant growth and the influx of visitors and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce estimates that this event will create an economic impact of more than $1.1 million during the span of the two tournament weekends, from both hotel stays as well as visiting local restaurants and shops. The tournament will generate more than 1,200 room nights at area hotels.

This tournament invites all USYSA and U.S. Club Soccer affiliated boys and girls U13 through U19 teams to participate. Players not only get the opportunity to play with and against the top teams in Region 1; they also get the chance to showcase their abilities and talents to recruits at the collegiate level.

The Genesee County Visitor Center will be open to assist visitors in finding local destinations by providing the new dining guide, maps, visitors guide and area coupons from participating merchants.

April 28, 2017 - 12:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Welch and Craine Trading Post, batavia, business, news.

welchcraineapril2017.jpg

The shuttering of the Muller Quaker Dairy opened doors for Michael Welch.

The part-time pastor always wanted to own his own business, be his own boss, and with a three-month severance package and a program through the unemployment office aimed to help the unemployed start companies, Welch decided it was time to turn dream into reality.

"I’m a pastor and I believe in God and I just asked the Lord if this what we’re supposed to do, just let the doors all be open," Welch said. "And if it’s not, just stop, stop it. All of the doors have been open all along the way, not to say it hasn’t been hard work. It’s been extremely hard work, especially at the end here."

At first, his wife, Paula, was skeptical, even though she also enjoyed his hobby of garage sales, estate sales, and auctions. But as doors along the way kept staying open, she realized a retail store of their own might be exactly what God wanted them to do.

Tomorrow, they open Welch and Craine Trading Post, 60 Liberty St., Batavia (the main entrance is really on Liberty, behind the Pok-A-Dot).  

The store features home furniture and decor, architectural salvage, handcrafted and repurposed furniture and household items.

 Welch added "trading post" to the business name because he wanted people to know the store sold a variety of items.

"We’re not just going to have like 100 beds, or 100 dressers," Welch said "We’re going to have a whole different mix of things. Some of it is going to be old. Some of it is going to be new."

Michael and Paula long enjoyed going to garage sales together and then about six years ago, Michael discovered auctions. He enjoyed the hunt for antiques and the rush of bidding and winning on favorite pieces.

"At first, I was bringing pieces home and it fit perfectly, and then I was bringing more pieces home and then it didn’t fit too perfectly," Welch said. "Finally, Paula is like, ‘this stuff, you’ve got to do something with this. There is too much stuff.’ "

That's when he started to think his hobby could maybe someday become a business.

As he was going through the unemployment business program, he mentioned some of his ideas to Brian Kemp, co-owner of T-Shirts Etc., and Kemp loved his ideas.

"I'd like to do something like that," Welch said Kemp said.

As they talked, Kemp told Welch about the Batavia Development Corp. and how they have low-interest loans and grants to help small businesses get started in Batavia.

That started a whole other long process. He had to write a business plan and the BDC Board had him revise it a few times before his plan was approved and the project was approved for assistance.

Tomorrow, the grand opening is at 11 a.m. and then from 7 to 11 p.m., the Tommy Z Band, out of Buffalo, plays a free blues concert.

welchcraineapril2017-2.jpg

April 28, 2017 - 11:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, business.

Press release:

Tompkins Financial Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors approved payment of a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.45 per share, payable on May 16, 2017, to common shareholders of record on May 8, 2017.

Tompkins Financial Corporation is a financial services company serving the Central, Western, and Hudson Valley regions of New York and the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania. Headquartered in Ithaca, NY, Tompkins Financial is parent to Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Tompkins VIST Bank, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc., and offers wealth management services through Tompkins Financial Advisors. For more information on Tompkins Financial, visit www.tompkinsfinancial.com.

April 28, 2017 - 11:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, business.

Press release:

Tompkins Financial Corporation (NYSEMKT:TMP) reported net income of $15.7 million for the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 10.8% from the $14.3 million reported for the same period in 2016. Diluted earnings per share were $1.03 for the first quarter of 2017, a 9.6% increase from $0.94 reported for the first quarter of 2016.

President and CEO, Stephen S. Romaine said “We are excited to start off the new year with the best first quarter earnings in our history. Solid loan growth and an improved net interest margin were key drivers of improved earnings over the prior year. At the same time, we have seen continued positive improvement in credit quality trends, with nonperforming assets improved from already low levels.”

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS FOR FOURTH QUARTER:

  • Diluted earnings per share of $1.03 represent the best first quarter in Company history
  • Net interest income was up 9.1% compared to the same period last year, and up 3.6% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016
  • Net interest margin improved over the most recent prior quarter and over the same period last year
  • Total loans of $4.3 billion were up 12.5% over the same period in 2016; and are up 1.0% over December 31, 2016
  • Total deposits of $4.9 billion reflect an increase of 6.5% over the same period last year, and are up 4.9% from December 31, 2016.

NET INTEREST INCOME

Net interest income of $48.0 million for the first quarter of 2017 increased by $4.0 million, or 9.1% compared to the same period in 2016, and was up 3.6% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. The increase in net interest income over prior year was largely driven by growth in average loans of $472.6 million or 12.5% as well as an improved net interest margin. The net interest margin was 3.38% for the first quarter of 2017, up from 3.30% for the fourth quarter of 2016, and 3.36% for the first quarter of 2016. The margin improvement benefited from improved yields on investment securities as well as maturities of some higher cost borrowings.

NONINTEREST INCOME

Noninterest income represented 26.4% of total revenues in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 28.4% in the same period in 2016, and 26.0% for the most recent prior quarter. Noninterest income of $17.2 million was down slightly from the same period last year, and up 5.7% over the fourth quarter of 2016. Revenue from Insurance and Investment services are the two largest components of noninterest income, representing 41.3% and 22.0% of noninterest income, respectively at March 31, 2017.

NONINTEREST EXPENSE

Noninterest expense was $41.4 million for the first quarter of 2017, which was up 4.7% compared to the same period in 2016, and up 5.0% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. The increase in noninterest expense was mainly related to higher salaries and benefits in the first quarter of 2017. The first quarter of 2017 also included $262,000 of deconversion expenses related to a core system conversion planned for this year.

ASSET QUALITY

Asset quality trends remained strong in the first quarter of 2017. Nonperforming loans and leases were down 3.1% compared to first quarter of 2016, and down 7.3% compared to the most recent quarter end. Nonperforming assets represented 0.36% of total assets at March 31, 2017, unchanged from December 31, 2016, and improved slightly from 0.39% at March 31, 2016. Nonperforming asset levels continue to be well below the most recent Federal Reserve Board Peer Group Average1 of 0.57%.

Provision for loan and lease losses was $769,000 for the first quarter of 2017, down from $855,000 for the first quarter of 2016. Net charge-offs for the first quarter of 2017 were $358,000 compared to $329,000 reported in the first quarter of 2016.

The Company’s allowance for originated loan and lease losses totaled $35.9 million at March 31, 2017, and represented 0.92% of total originated loans and leases at March 31, 2017. The ratio is unchanged from the most recent prior quarter and is down from 0.95% one year ago. The total allowance represented 180.02% of total nonperforming loans and leases at March 31, 2017, improved from 164.98% at December 31, 2016, and 156.88% at March 31, 2016.

CAPITAL POSITION

Capital ratios remain well above the regulatory well capitalized minimums. The ratio of Tier 1 capital to average assets of 8.36% at March 31, 2017, compared to 8.41% reported for December 31, 2016. Total capital to risk-weighted assets at March 31, 2017 was 12.41%, compared to 12.22% reported at December 31, 2016. Both ratios are down from the same period last year, in large part due to the redemption of $20.5 million of 7% fixed rate Trust Preferred securities.

ABOUT TOMPKINS FINANCIAL CORPORATION

Tompkins Financial Corporation is a financial services company serving the Central, Western, and Hudson Valley regions of New York and the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania. Headquartered in Ithaca, NY, Tompkins Financial is parent to Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Tompkins VIST Bank, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc., and offers wealth management services through Tompkins Financial Advisors. For more information on Tompkins Financial, visit www.tompkinsfinancial.com.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform of 1995:

This press release may include forward-looking statements with respect to revenue sources, growth, market risk, and corporate objectives. The Company assumes no duty, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to update forward-looking statements, and cautions that these statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks, and uncertainties, all of which could change over time. Actual results could differ materially from forward-looking statements.

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April 27, 2017 - 4:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, business, ferrellgas, Announcements.

Ferrellgas in Batavia will hold a Customer Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13th.

There will be $5 grill tank exchanges and raffles for a new grill, Omaha Steak packages, Ferrellgas merchandise, a flat-screen TV, plus drawings for free propane for all Ferrellgas customers.

All proceeds will benefit the locally based Michael Napoleone Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.

Ferrellgas is located at 655 Ellicott St. in Batavia.

April 27, 2017 - 2:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, batavia, elba, pembroke, byron-bergen.

Submitted photo: Batavia CTE Center FFA members, from left: Alex Morales (Batavia), Rebecca Meyers (Batavia), MacKenzie Fox (Byron-Bergen), Melissa Keller (Pembroke), Tracy Rudgers (Attica), Stella Glosser (Warsaw), Cherie Glosser (Warsaw), Rebecca Semmel (Warsaw), Elizabeth Jurs (Elba), Allison Pajda (Attica), Rachel Smith (Churchville-Chili), and Tyler Curbelo (Batavia).

Press release:

Two Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center students will be representing the Western Region at the New York State FFA Convention in Leadership Development Events on May 11-13 at the State University of New York at Morrisville.

While competing at the FFA sub-states competition on March 18 at Pioneer High School, Allison Pajda, an Attica High School junior in the Animal Science program, placed first in the People in Agriculture Leadership Development Competition, and Melissa Keller, a Pembroke High School senior in the Agri-Business Academy, placed second in the Employment Interview Skills competition.

In the Employment Interview Skills competition, students had to complete a phone interview, an in-person interview with three evaluators, and write a follow up letter. In addition, students’ resumes, cover letters, and applications were also evaluated. The judges’ scores in all of the above areas were averaged to determine the overall placing. For the People in Agriculture competition, Allison had to research and present on five different careers in agriculture and choose one career to write an essay about. Allison interviewed a local livestock producer and wrote her essay on his career.

New York State has three different sub-state regions and the top two students in each region move on to compete at the State Convention for the Leadership Development Competitions. Prior to the sub-states competition, 12 Batavia CTE Center students competed at the district competition, which was held at Springville High School on Feb. 28. Those 12 students scored high enough to advance to the sub-states competition.

The Batavia CTE Center FFA program focuses on premier leadership, personal growth and career success. The advisors are Holly Partridge, Animal Science instructor, and Kerri Richardson, Agri-Business Academy instructor.

Sub-states Competition Results:
Employment Interview Skills -- Melissa Keller (Pembroke), second
People in Agriculture -- Allison Pajda (Attica), first
People in Agriculture -- Tyler Curbelo (Batavia), third
Parliamentary Procedure Team -- third

District Competition Results:

Prepared Public Speaking -- Melissa Keller (Pembroke), first
Prepared Public Speaking -- Rebecca Meyers (Batavia), sixth
Extemporaneous Public Speaking -- Tracy Rudgers (Attica), fifth
Extemporaneous Public Speaking -- Cherie Glosser (Warsaw), ninth
FFA Creed -- Liz Jurs (Elba), third
FFA Creed -- Alex Morales (Batavia), fourth
Employment Interview -- Tracy Rudgers (Attica), second
Employment Interview -- Melissa Keller (Pembroke), third
Employment Interview -- Stella Glosser (Warsaw), fifth

People in Agriculture -- Allison Pajda (Attica), first
People in Agriculture -- Tyler Curbelo (Batavia), second
Agricultural Issues – MacKenzie Fox (Byron-Bergen), Rachel Smith (Churchville-Chili, and Rebecca Myers (Batavia), second
Parliamentary Procedure -- Rebecca Semmel (Warsaw), Melissa Keller (Pembroke), Tracy Rudgers (Attica), Cherie Glosser (Warsaw), Elizabeth Jurs (Elba), and Stella Glosser (Warsaw), second

About the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center

The Batavia Career and Technical Education Centeris a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services providing shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York.

April 26, 2017 - 6:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, GC Business Education Alliance.

The Genesee County Business Education Alliance will host its annual Spring Breakfast on Friday, May 19, at 7:30 a.m. at Terry Hills Banquet.

This year’s breakfast will include a number of presentations and awards.

“We will be highlighting job shadows and WNY Tech Academy and discussing how business and school collaboration has impacted our students and programs. We will pay special tribute to former BEA board member Allan Davis, who passed away in December, and his many years of service in the community,” said Karyn Winters, Genesee County BEA director. “Davis was a longtime BEA supporter and retired employee of Liberty Pumps.”

For more information or to register, contact Winters, at [email protected] or 585-343-7440.

This event is open to the public, however, registration is required by May 5. The cost for the breakfast is $20 per person. Terry Hills Banquet Facility is located at 5122 Clinton Street Road, Batavia.

The Genesee County Business Education Alliance is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services providing shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, and Steuben counties.

April 26, 2017 - 2:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, dairy, NY-27, business.

Press release:

Representative Chris Collins (NY-27) today led a bipartisan letter sent to President Trump applauding the president’s acknowledgements of Canada’s protectionist trade policies related to dairy products and advocating for swift action to ensure Canada upholds its trade agreements.

“President Trump campaigned on putting America first, and protecting American jobs,” Collins said. “Today’s letter highlights how vital the U.S. dairy industry is to Western New York and dairy producing regions across the country. The U.S. dairy industry supports billions of dollars in exports and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.

"Unfortunately, due to unfair competitive practices by Canada, we must take action to ensure our dairy products will be able to compete on a level playing field. I am glad President Trump has recognized how important this issue is to hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans, and I will continue working with my colleagues to protect the U.S. dairy industry.”

The letter which 68 lawmakers signed on to was also co-led by Representatives Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Ron Kind (WI-03), Sean Duffy (WI-07), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), and Peter Welch (VT-AL).

The letter details Canadian trade practices that “may violate Canada’s existing trade commitments to the United States by effectively discouraging U.S. dairy exports to Canada.” It also reinforces that “our districts and states rely on the jobs the dairy industry provides and cannot afford further protectionist policies from our northern neighbor.”

Full text of the letter along with signatories can be seen here and full text can be read below.

April 26, 2017 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in labor, jobs, business, news.

The number of people in Genesee County who are part of the labor force dropped by 800, from 29,800 in March 2016 to 29,000 this March.

That's not necessarily a bad thing.

It could be a sign of a tightening labor market.

In fact, the county's unemployment rate year-over-year fell from 5.4 percent to 5.1 percent even as the total number of county residents fell from 28,200 to 27,500.

At the county level, not all employment statistics are available, but on a national level, the number of prime-age workers in the labor force has been steadily increasing since 2011, when the percentage of 25-54-year-olds in the national labor market was 75.1 percent. This march, the number it 78.5 percent, which still isn't as high as the pre-recession level of 80.2, but a marked improvement.

Tammy Morino, an economist with the Department of Labor in Rochester, said the two trends -- growing number of prime-age workers in the labor market and declining labor force participation could mean we are at or near full employment.

The 800 labor force drop in Genesee County could be explained mostly by more Baby Boomers aging out of the workforce, and whereas those retiring workers were replaced in recent years by prime-age workers re-entering the workforce, there just aren't as many workers sitting on the sidelines these days.

"It's not a phenomenon unique to the county," Morino said. "We're seeing it across the nation, the aging out of the labor force."

More than 30 percent of Genesee County's workers commute to either Rochester or Buffalo, and Morino said Monroe County has added 30,000 new jobs since the end of the recession.

The number of non-farm jobs in Genesee County held steady year-over-year at 21,900, still below the pre-recession peak of 22,900.

The idea of a tight labor market in Genesee County also fits with what Scott Gage, director of the Job Development Bureau, is seeing at his agency. The year started off with about 400 people locally re-entering the labor force, he noted, and in March, 100 people who had been drawing unemployment found work, he said.

"We’ve got a lot of jobs," he said. "We just ran the list yesterday, there are 760 jobs just in Genesee County. Some of those are seasonal jobs, but that's a lot of jobs."

According to state data, there are 1,500 people in Genesee County who are part of the labor force but do not have jobs.

To an economist, the concept of "full employment" doesn't mean at any given moment every single working-age person has a job -- because there is always some flux involved in changing jobs, changing job circumstances, changing seasonal jobs or other factors, such as workers holding out for better jobs or better pay, that put people temporarily out of work -- but that enough jobs are available to employ all those who want jobs.

"The biggest problem we're having is finding people who are willing work," Gage said. "Most of the people who were able to come back into the labor force are finding job opportunities and now there are more opportunities than available workers."

Wage data for the county is available only on a quarterly basis and the third quarter of 2016 is the most recent available data. Total quarterly wages in:

  • Q3, 2016, $227,365,299
  • Q3, 2015: $217,005,273
  • Q3, 2014: $213,124,736
  • Q3, 2013: $203,875,721
  • Q3, 2012: $193,643,054
  • Q3, 2011: $203,179,005
  • Q3, 2010: $192,917,830
  • Q3, 2008: $182,668,038
  • Q3, 2007: $191,733,289
April 25, 2017 - 9:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Torrey Farms, agriculture, elba, business, news.

img_2382torreywh.jpg

Maureen Torrey, co-owner of Torrey Farms in Elba, was at the White House today along with other representatives of the country's farmers, for the signing by President Donald J. Trump of an executive order aimed at boosting agriculture and rural communities (Full text of the order).

Torrey said the farmers also met with the president and his staff and there was a productive, positive discussion about labor, infrastructure, research, trade, NAFTA, Canada and Western NY dairy.

Torrey is pictured on the far left, back row.

UPDATE: Here's a related press release from the NYS Farm Bureau:

New York dairy and vegetable farmer, Maureen Torrey from Genesee County, joined 13 other farmers from across the country for a roundtable discussion yesterday with President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall was a part of the discussion as well on issues the White House believes are most pressing for American agriculture.

Following the roundtable, President Trump signed an executive order that acknowledges a reliable, safe, and affordable food, fiber and forestry supply is critical to America’s national security, stability and prosperity. The order also establishes an interagency task force, to be chaired by Secretary Perdue, charged with identifying legislative, regulatory and policy changes that would enhance American agriculture, rural economic development, job growth, infrastructure improvements, technological innovation, energy security and quality of life in rural America. The report from the task force is due within 180 days.

“It is an honor to have a representative of New York agriculture invited to play an integral role in the roundtable discussion at the White House,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.  “Farm Bureau looks forward to working with the administration and Congress on issues like trade, farm labor and regulatory reform, with the goal of boosting American agriculture and increasing access to New York-grown food.”

The event is an historic occasion, as it is believed the last time a group of farmers met with a U.S. president this early in an administration was prior to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.  

It followed the swearing-in of newly confirmed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. New York Farm Bureau is supportive of Secretary Perdue and is pleased to see him finally in place as the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Secretary Perdue is one of us. He grew up on a dairy farm, raised row crops, and was an agri-business owner. It is important to have someone in this position who understands trade, immigration and a whole host of other issues that are vital to a farmer’s success. Secretary Perdue spoke about having the opportunity to visit New York during his confirmation hearing, and New York Farm Bureau would like to personally invite him to our great state to showcase the opportunities and challenges that exist for our diverse membership,” said Fisher.

April 24, 2017 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, STAMP, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced that William Kent Inc. in Stafford will conduct an auction for items in vacant structures on the site of STAMP -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park. The items to be auctioned are from 6758 Allegany Road; 6725 Crosby Road; and, 6840 Crosby Road. 

The auction will be held online from April 27 through May 2.  All items purchased must be removed from the properties by May 12.  The auction will precede asbestos removal and demolition of the structures.

The agreement between the GCEDC and William Kent Inc. states that the auction company will receive 10-percent commission of the sale of all items. William Kent Inc. also may deduct their fee from the gross sales receipts resulting from the sale of the items. The notice of the auction was published in The Batavia Daily News, Genesee Valley PennySaver (Oatka and Batavia editions) and the Lake Country PennySaver.

“There are items in the vacant structures that have some value and funds from the online auction will be used to mitigate costs associated with preparing the site for development,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president, GCEDC.

Since 1970, William Kent Inc. has conducted thousands of auctions across upstate New York from farm and commercial properties to estates and antiques.

For more information about the online auction please visit www.williamkentinc.com.

April 24, 2017 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, batavia, business.

Press release:

Tompkins Bank of Castile is expanding its presence in Western New York, adding a new role to lead the further development of its commercial lending customer base in Erie and Niagara counties. The bank is also beginning a search for office space in the Buffalo area to support this expansion.

Adam Desmond, a banking industry veteran who is native to Buffalo, has been named Regional Market Leader for the Buffalo market. Desmond joined the company on April 3 and will lead the efforts to further grow the bank’s presence in the area.

“We are excited to have Adam lead our effort to significantly expand our growing presence in the Buffalo area,” said John McKenna, Tompkins Bank of Castile President & CEO. “He brings extensive banking experience, a deep network and knowledge of the Buffalo market to our team.”

Desmond joins Tompkins Bank of Castile with more than 15 years of financial services industry experience in Buffalo. In addition to his professional experience in Buffalo, Desmond was born and raised in the area and lives on Grand Island, N.Y., with his wife and children. He is active in the community, including serving as Vice Chairman of the board of the Buffalo chapter of Literacy New York. Desmond completed a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Finance at the University of Buffalo and an MBA with a concentration in Accounting at Canisius College.

As the company looks to establish an office location in the Buffalo market, there are plans to add additional team members to support banking, insurance and wealth management customers. Founded in 1869, Tompkins Bank of Castile has a tradition of providing long-term value for its clients in Western New York.

“As a community bank, we pride ourselves on our local decision-making, which allows us to help local businesses grow,” said McKenna. “Establishing an office in the Buffalo area will allow us to provide even better service to our growing customer base across all Tompkins businesses in Erie and Niagara counties.”  

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Copyright © 2008-2017 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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