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Officials: Babylon IDA paying dividends

A Babylon Town tax incentives program designed to encourage expansion of industry and attract new businesses has kept or created more than 300 jobs on Long Island in recent months, according to the town's Industrial Development Agency.

Bob Stricoff, the IDA's chief executive, said seven companies closed on real estate deals in Babylon in October and December. Three companies, including fluid control valve manufacturer Ausco Inc., with 53 employees, were wooed from Nassau County.

T&L Salads, which distributes prepackaged food products, is moving from Brooklyn, bringing 36 jobs. P&L Marble, Checkmate Industries and Piping Rock Products, Babylon companies that had threatened to leave the town, were persuaded to stay.

"They were shopping around," Stricoff said.

The IDA's incentive plans, which Stricoff said are among the most aggressive on Long Island, offer tax abatements of up to 50 percent in the first year to companies making significant capital investments in the town or retaining jobs.

Babylon-based Piping Rock Products invested $7 million in a warehouse for health supplements; the company will reduce its tax obligation by $1,018,000 over the 15-year lifetime of its IDA deal, which Stricoff credits with safeguarding or creating 63 jobs.

Stricoff argued that the deal and similar ones should not be seen "solely as a reduction in tax revenue." Company employees feed money into the town economy, he said, and the tax base is strengthened by filling buildings that might otherwise go unoccupied.

"The Town of Babylon and the Babylon IDA are committed to ensuring jobs stay on Long Island and specifically in the Town of Babylon," town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said.

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