Skip to main content

Funding considered to help bring more beer and cheese to Genesee County

By Howard B. Owens

Members of the County Legislature expressed support yesterday for two projects that will need some financial backing to move forward.

Mark Masse, VP of operations for Genesee County Economic Development Center, presented the projects to the Ways and Means Committee. There was no formal vote, just a sense of the committee that he should come back at a later date with formal resolutions for the Legislature to vote on.

The first proposal is loan/grant support for Ellicott Station, the proposed brewery, tap room and beer garden at the former Della Penna building on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

GCEDC is proposing using the local development corporation's revolving loan program to provide $210,000 in assistance. Half of the funds would be a term loan, the other half would be a loan that would become a grant if specified project criteria are met.

The money originates from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The brewery and tap room -- a $700,000 project overall -- is the anchor tenant of the $15 million Ellicott Station renovation, and is anticipated to create 15 full-time equivalent jobs, with 75 percent of the jobs going to low- to moderate-income people.

In the past, similar programs have assisted Yancey's Fancy, O-AT-KA, and P.W. Minor.

While the Legislature must approve the loan/grant, the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. would administer the loan and monitor it for compliance.

The CDBG criteria require two public hearings, one before approval to consider whether other projects might be more worthy of the funds, and one during the project to take testimony on whether there are any violations of the program requirements.

The other project moving forward is an expansion of the sewer plant in Corfu. Right now it's processing 135,000 gallons of sewage per day, which is the plant's capacity.

The two travel plazas off the Thruway on Route 77 want to start using the facility and, more importantly, Yancey's Fancy, with production facilities on Main Road and a new one just down the street, wants to expand capacity. 

GCEDC has already approved a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) for the expansion, but the lack of capacity at the Corfu plant is holding up the project.

The expansion would consist of adding two processing units capable of handling 75,000 gallons per day (the twin units are needed so use can be rotated for cleaning and maintenance) at a cost of $2.7 million.

The county and school district would be asked to give up some tax revenue (for the county, about $272,000 over 11 years) to help fund the project. The Town of Pembroke currently has a zero-rate property tax, so its share of funding would only kick in if it passed a property tax over the next 11 years.

The travel plazas would pay about $1 million in hook-up fees, the GGLDC has already committed $100,000 to design and engineering plus another $40,000 a year over 11 years, and the balance of about $500,000 would be covered by grants.

The expansion would create 15 new jobs, Masse said.

Legislator Mike Davis, who works in the dairy industry, pointed out how important this project is. Yancey's Fancy's parent company is based in Pennsylvania and has already looked at expanding in that state. The plan here is to expand the original production facility on Main Road by 6,000 square feet and increase production of natural cheese.

The other Pembroke facility is used for processing cheese.

Dairy farmers are finding there is a local shortage of milk processing facilities, so the expansion will help local dairy farmers, Davis said. 

"I would say this is important to us all the way around," Davis said.

david spaulding

NO, NO, and NO...... seems to me other people get to pick and choose where their tax dollars get spent i.e. (planned parenthood), so I will say NO to this give away of taxpayer dollars. If you want to expand or grow your business, pay for it yourself. I repeat, pay for it yourself. I do not want to go into business with you or anybody else. If and when I decide to go into a business I will do it on my own. thank you... did I mention NO ? and fire the board who are getting rich by handing out gifts from taxpayers.

Apr 20, 2017, 4:42pm Permalink
david spaulding

well then think of this, 500,000 dollar grant. grant means free taxpayer money, no need to repay. say you pay $2,500 in residential property taxes. It means 200 Genesee co. property owner's annual tax went to create 15 jobs. Try counting 200 houses on your way to work tomorrow. each one of those homeowners had 2500 of their hard earned dollars given away. How long does it take for you to save 2500 dollars? and then some board gives it away. Here is $500,000 take it, it's free. There are 200 families in Genesee Co. who could have gone on a nice "get away" but they saved this money to pay taxes instead and now we want to give it to you, for free with other goodies too ......... what are we going to do when the jailhouse deadline from Albany gets here? raise taxes? people, we have to stop giving money away. Fire the board.
Fire them all and stop giving our money away. If and when we start giving money away again, we can start another board.
I don't know where to start, anyone have any ideas? Anyone interested in trying to stop the madness? If not I'll continue to be happy coming here to gripe about the way tax money is being spent.....

Apr 20, 2017, 9:55pm Permalink

Authentically Local