EDA approves $80K sales tax exemption for ethanol plant

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 July 2015 at 12:00 am

Agency agrees to $150K loan to Dobbins for Yates project

ALBION – The Orleans Economic Development Agency approved a sales tax exemption today that will save Western New York Energy an estimated $80,000 as it adds a $2 million grain expansion this year.

The EDA board of directors this morning also agreed to loan $150,000 to H.H. Dobbins in Lyndonville, which is working on a $4 million expansion by adding a 26,240-square-foot controlled atmosphere storage building. The $150,000 is to be paid back by Empire Fruit LLC over 4 years at 75 percent of the prime rate (currently 2.4375 percent).

Empire Fruit, a limited liability corporation formed by the Dobbins family in 1999, will use the loan as “working capital” while it completes the expansion and adds equipment, said Jim Whipple, EDA chief executive officer.

“This is a really nice project for the Town of Yates,” Whipple told the EDA board, which unanimously backed the loan from a revolving loan fund managed by the EDA.

In the other agriculture-related project, Western New York Energy is working to expand the grain storage capacity for the ethanol plant in Medina at the corner of Bates Road and Route 31A. WNY Energy spent $89 million in developing the plant that opened in 2007.

WNY Energy will expand the capacity by 800,000 bushels. The company wants to have a new 105-foot wide by 142-foot high steel silo done by late October. A conveyor system at the top of the bin would increase the height to 155 feet.

The project includes about $1 million of taxable equipment and materials. The EDA this morning agreed to waive the sales tax, which will save the company $80,000. (The EDA will receive $4,000 in administrative costs, reducing the total savings to WNY Energy to $76,000.)

The added grain space will increase grain reserves from 17 days to 30 days, providing greater capacity when deliveries could be impeded by inclement winter weather.

The new grain bin will be on existing developed land that is south of the current corn silos that have 1 million bushels of storage space with two 500,000-bushel grain bins.