ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency has granted The Ithaca Beer Company a three-year extension on its tax abatement agreement.
An abatement spreads property taxes out over time. The company is in the third year of a seven-year agreement. The extension will spread the total length of the agreement to ten years.
The original agreement was put in place when the company proposed expanding its operations in Tompkins County. They built a tap room and restaurant, enlarged the brewing, canning and packaging facilities. These resulted in an increase in water usage and wastewater discharge.
Ithaca Beer Company owners said they had to put in a new wastewater pre-treatment system which is an unexpected expense. They also claim the company is making less money because of a more competitive craft beer market.
The initial request was for five years, rather than three.
Martha Robertson is an IDA member and said that’s too much. “Basically, the property taxes that would have been forgone would have been, approximately equalled the cost of the sewage treatment system that was the real cause of their economic challenges,” she added.
Robertson did vote for the shorter extension, while three members still voted against it.
John Guttridge was one of those who opposed the changes. He is the developer of Press Bay Alley and Press Bay Court in downtown Ithaca.
“A tax abatement is the wrong tool to solve the particular problem they are facing,” he said. “Typically we give tax abatements to create jobs or encourage specific investment and in this case that wasn’t what we were doing.”
He said he empathizes with the company’s predicament he could not agree to the changes for the reasons they requested it.
Over time, the extension is expected to save the company about $159,000.