Suffolk County Thursday offered nearly $2 million in tax breaks to a manufacturer of cleaning supplies that's mulling whether to expand in another state.
U.S. Nonwovens Corp., based in Brentwood, needs to reduce costs by consolidating its operations. Company executives said profit margins are being squeezed by increased competition to supply major retailing chains, and by higher property taxes.
Chief executive Shervin Zade said he and his family are looking at property in Pennsylvania and South Carolina for factories but would prefer to stay on Long Island.
"The issue we face is our cost structure," Zade said. "Property taxes really add a significant burden to us compared with our competitors in other states."
Asked about leaving Long Island, he said, "These are backup plans. These are not plans that we enjoy looking at, but we must be competitive."
U.S. Nonwovens has 546 employees at five locations in Suffolk. They earn, on average, $33,333 per year, records show.
In addition to out-of-state locations, the company is considering a 180,192-square-foot building at 360 Moreland Rd. in Commack. It would cost $16.6 million to purchase, renovate and equip the facility for manufacturing.
To support that project, the county's industrial development agency proposes to reduce or freeze property taxes by $1.8 million on three of the company's buildings plus the new one in Commack over 12 to 15 years.
The IDA also offered a sales-tax exemption of $45,282, and $115,500 off the mortgage recording tax for the Commack factory.
In return for the help, U.S. Nonwovens would add 90 people to its payroll by 2016 and 200 more by 2019.
Last year, the company had its electric bill reduced over seven years by the state Power Authority. It also won't pay property taxes on three buildings for another few years under the state's Empire Zones Program.
"Hopefully, this is enough to keep them here," said IDA board member Grant Hendricks.
Separately, the IDA on Thursday approved $578,846 in tax breaks for Photonics Industries International Inc.
The Bohemia-based manufacturer of lasers used in the production of Apple and Samsung smartphones plans to open a factory in Ronkonkoma. The $6.3-million project will add 40 people to a local payroll of 70. Wages, on average, are $56,143.