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Suffolk IDA offers $710G in tax breaks as Comtech weighs move

Comtech PST Corp. on Baylis Road in Melville.

Comtech PST Corp. on Baylis Road in Melville. Comtech executives said they are weighing whether to expand in Melville or move to Maryland, Arizona or Florida. Photo Credit: Google Maps

Suffolk County offered $709,000 in tax breaks on Thursday to a telecommunications equipment manufacturer, in a bid to keep it from moving out of state.

The county’s Industrial Development Agency agreed to help Comtech Telecommunications Corp., whose executives said they are weighing whether to expand in Melville or move to Maryland, Arizona or Florida.

The public company has 2,000 employees, including 114 locally. It reported a profit of $23 million for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2015, on sales of $307 million.

The tax breaks, which include reductions in property taxes over 10 years, would support a Comtech proposal to renew the leases on its two Melville locations for 10 years, rent additional office space and purchase more factory equipment.

The plan, valued at $1.8 million, would preserve Comtech’s current workforce and add between 20 and 25 jobs over the next three years, according to its application for IDA assistance.

The new positions would pay an average of $80,000 per year, records show. Comtech’s local workforce, including top executives, earn an average of $102,982 a year.

Comtech’s finance vice president, Nancy Stallone, said Thursday that the company’s February purchase of TeleCommunication Systems Inc. of Annapolis, Marylandhad left excess space in states with lower costs than New York.

“We have a number of functions that we need to take a look at in terms of consolidation,” she told the IDA’s board of directors. “We have other spaces in other locations where we are potentially considering opportunities.”

Separately, in a letter to the IDA, Comtech executives said it could leave Long Island without disrupting operations.

Among the scenarios being explored by executives are remaining and expanding locally; moving the company’s headquarters to Maryland; moving manufacturing and research operations to Arizona; or moving the entire local operation to Florida or Arizona.

“Without state and local assistance, an expansion and or retention in New York would not be competitive with the out-of-state options that are already available,” the executives wrote.

Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, has had discussions with Comtech, an agency spokesman confirmed Thursday.

The aid request from Comtech, which was founded in 1967, comes after Suffolk has lost the headquarters of CA Technologies, which moved to Manhattan; Arrow Electronics, which moved to Colorado, and The Hain Celestial Group Inc., which moved to Lake Success.

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