Brookhaven hits Suffolk breaks for recycler

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A turf war has broken out between two economic development agencies in Suffolk County.

The Brookhaven Town Industrial Development Agency said this week that it had been bypassed by the county IDA in tax breaks offered to PK Metals, a recycler based in Coram.

The Suffolk IDA reduced existing property taxes on a Holtsville building that PK Metals is purchasing for $3.6 million. The savings would be $157,000 over 12 years.

PK Metals also received a $70,000 sales-tax exemption on materials to outfit the facility and $30,000 off the mortgage recording tax.

Brookhaven officials blasted the incentive as overly generous, saying it meant less revenue for hard-pressed school districts and local governments. They also accused the Suffolk IDA of violating a long-held practice of giving town IDAs right of first refusal on projects within their boundaries.

Babylon, Islip and Riverhead also have IDAs.

"Historically and until recently, the county IDA has not accepted an application for a project in the Town of Brookhaven unless discussed with Brookhaven's IDA and we deferred to the county," Frederick C. Braun III, board chairman of the Brookhaven IDA, said in an Oct. 22 letter to the Suffolk IDA.

He urged county IDA board members not to give final approval for the PK Metals deal. He also called on them to reconsider a policy adopted in June that allows the county to reduce a company's current property tax bill rather than freeze it or limit future increases.

Brookhaven's objections weren't mentioned at Thursday's Suffolk IDA board meeting, where PK Metals received the go-ahead. Braun said Friday he was "disappointed."

Asked about the dispute, Suffolk IDA executive director Anthony Manetta said the agency "strives to cooperate with all the town IDAs. However, our philosophy on economic development does differ somewhat."

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He said the property-tax cuts were needed because residents and businesses are leaving Long Island.

Braun had vied for the job Manetta now has.

Braun also Friday denied a report given to Suffolk IDA board members that PK Metals sought county help after being turned away by Brookhaven. Braun said PK Metals never submitted an aid application to the town.

PK Metals officials didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.

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