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Suffolk IDA to spend $170,000 on ads to lure businesses

Anthony J. Catapano, the executive director of the

Anthony J. Catapano, the executive director of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency, on Nov. 20, 2014. Credit: Johnny Milano

Suffolk County plans to spend up to $170,000 on advertisements this spring and summer that tout the benefits of doing business in the county.

The county's industrial development agency plans a two-month campaign. The ads will be on television, radio and the Internet.

The campaign will begin later this month or early next month, IDA executive director Anthony J. Catapano said last week. It will feature testimonials from companies helped by the IDA with tax breaks.

The Nassau IDA, Brookhaven Town IDA and others have aired similar commercials. They are paid for with fees from IDA applicants, rather than tax dollars, and generally aim to persuade businesses in the metropolitan area to expand on Long Island.

The effectiveness of such promotions has been questioned. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Monday released a scathing audit of Empire State Development's ads for the Start-Up NY tax-free zones, "I Love NY" tourism and other programs, saying they cost $211 million and produced "no tangible results."

The Suffolk campaign will include two to three weeks of ads on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC and HLN. There also will be radio spots on the CBS, WFAN and Bloomberg stations, said Ron Edelson, co-founder and partner at Zimmerman/Edelson Inc., the Great Neck agency that developed the IDA ads.

He said the Internet promotions would last two months. Last year the IDA spent $100,000 on a similar campaign.

The IDA recently renewed its one-year contract with Zimmerman/Edelson Inc. The firm will be paid up to $7,500 per month, unchanged from last year.

Zimmerman/Edelson has worked for the IDA for two years.

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