Tech firm staying in Nassau, with tax breaks

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A maker of small motion-control components used in aerospace, health care, manufacturing and other industries will receive tax breaks to stay in Nassau County rather than move to New Jersey, officials said last night.

Designatronics Inc. wants to consolidate into one building operations that now are spread over four sites in New Hyde Park and Garden City Park. The company hopes to purchase a 100,000-square-foot factory at 250 Duffy Ave. in Hicksville by year-end.

Designatronics "looked at property in New Jersey, but the preference was to stay here because of the employees," said Daniel P. Deegan, an attorney for the business. "This couldn't happen without help from the IDA."

The county's industrial development agency last night agreed to a 15-year freeze of the property taxes on the Hicksville building. The company also would receive a $172,500 sales-tax exemption on the purchase of equipment, furniture and other materials for the Hicksville building.

In return for the incentives, Designatronics would create one job by 2017 and protect the current payroll of 256 people, Deegan said. Records show they earn between $10 and $26 per hour.

Michael A. Walsh, the company's board chairman, said it wants to change the workforce's composition, increasing the number of factory jobs and decreasing those in administration, which sometimes pay less.

Walsh also said the $11.3- million project represents an expansion for Designatronics, which opened in 1960. It once was a public company until the Chicago investment group Dyson, Dyson & Dunn purchased all the stock in 1995.

Designatronics is the latest business to consider leaving Long Island for New Jersey but stayed because of tax breaks from New York State and local governments, among other reasons.

The list includes natural foods maker The Hain Celestial Group, which moved from Melville to Lake Success; camera and imaging giant Canon U.S.A., which shifted its Americas headquarters to Melville from Lake Success, and investor-documents processor Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc., which has large plants in Edgewood and Brentwood.

Joseph J. Kearney, executive director of the Nassau IDA, said: "We've been blunting the incursion by New Jersey into the county . . . [but] it's a constant battle because New Jersey has been very aggressive."

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