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Baseboard heating company gets tax breaks to stay on LI

Baseboard heating equipment maker Slant/Fin will stay on

Baseboard heating equipment maker Slant/Fin will stay on Long Island and invest in its Greenvale facilty with tax breaks from Nassau County. This is the facility on June 30, 2016. It had considered a move to Connecticut. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A large manufacturer of baseboard heating equipment has agreed to stay on Long Island and modernize its Greenvale factory instead of moving to Connecticut, officials said Tuesday night.

The Slant/Fin Corp. will make $3 million in improvements to its headquarters, factory and warehouse at 100 Forest Dr. The plan calls for installing robots in some areas of the 188,650-square-foot building, among other things, executives said.

The robots will initially eliminate 14 jobs from the company’s payroll of 229. But executives have committed to returning to current employment levels within three years in return for tax breaks from Nassau County.

The county’s Industrial Development Agency on Tuesday agreed to property tax breaks lasting 20 years. The tax rate will be frozen at the current level for five years and then rise by 1.56 percent in each of the following 15 years.

IDA officials said they want the Slant/Fin employees whose jobs are taken over by robots to be retrained for other positions at the company. Workers earn, on average, $50,000 per year, records show.

Charles Famoso, the company’s treasurer and chief financial officer, said that the family-owned business had considered moving to Connecticut. “But when you’ve been in the same place for 50 years, a move can be risky. . . . It made more sense for us to stay,” he said in an interview.

The company was started in 1949 as American Slant Fin Radiator Corp., located in the back of a bakery in Coney Island. The business moved to Long Island in the 1960s, eventually opening facilities in Greenvale and Glen Cove.

Founder Melvin Dubin introduced commercial finned-tube radiators and residential baseboard equipment. The design, slanted with interlock fins to provide strength and extra heating ability, was considered an engineering innovation and gave the business its name.

Slant/Fin calls itself the largest U.S. manufacturer of baseboard heating products. It also produces gas and oil boilers.

Connecticut had offered loans and tax breaks to support a proposed $9.2 million facility in Waterbury that would have employed 125 people, according to a 2014 written offer from Catherine H. Smith, the state’s commissioner of economic and community development.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Tuesday that aiding the business “ensures residents continue to have local job opportunities and helps maintain the tax base for schools and other municipalities.”

The company began considering a move from the Island three years ago, according to Tom Stringer, a site selection advisor with BDO Consulting that has advised Slant/Fin.

New York State is also providing help: a grant of up to $530,000 and state tax credits of up to $70,000, said Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for Empire State Development. The state Power Authority is considering an application for discounted electricity.

IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney said Slant/Fine “was going to Connecticut . . . This project will allow them to grow in the future, in terms of sales, production and revenue -- and that means more union jobs.”

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