Saratoga County

Finch Paper requesting tax breaks for Northumberland landfill

Finch Paper is looking for some tax breaks as it prepares to take over and start operating the Sarat

Finch Paper is looking for some tax breaks as it prepares to take over and start operating the Saratoga County landfill in rural Northumberland.

The Glens Falls paper manufacturer wants the landfill itself to be exempt from property taxes for five years and also seeks sales tax and mortgage tax exemptions worth an estimated $210,000.

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency board accepted Finch’s application Monday and scheduled a public hearing on it for 8 a.m. Aug. 12 at Northumberland Town Hall in Gansevoort.

The company, which in June was selected by the county Board of Supervisors to buy the Kobor Road landfill, says the tax breaks will help cover the cost of getting the landfill started.

“The facility has not been operated for 10 years. There is a considerable amount of deferred maintenance that has to be done,” said Robert Baron, Finch Paper’s chief financial officer.

The company is asking that the landfill itself — with an assessed value of around $5.6 million — not be taxed for the first five years of Finch’s ownership. It is proposing to pay taxes to the South Glens Falls School District and other entities on only the $262,000 estimated land value of the 63-acre site.

As county-owned property, the landfill isn’t currently taxed at all.

The landfill was completed in 2001, but has never been opened by the county. In 2012, supervisors decided to sell it, leading to a bidding process that resulted in last month’s award to Finch.

Finch will be paying the county $4 million when the deal closes in December and $2 million more later, assuming the state grants permission for the county landfill to be interconnected to Finch’s paper mill sludge landfill next door.

The county and town of Northumberland will also receive a share of future tipping fees, assuming those fees are higher than $38 per ton.

The landfill won’t open for “at least a year,” Baron told the IDA board at a meeting in Ballston Spa. “For it to be operating as the county intended, it will be two or three years.”

The plan is that the two landfills will be connected across a roughly six-acre gap, and the county landfill would accept both paper mill sludge and municipal solid waste.

The company says being able to accept municipal waste will diversify Finch’s revenue stream, helping support nearly 700 jobs at the Glens Falls plant, and another 1,500 jobs in forestry and associated industries.

“Our purchase of the Saratoga County landfill and the assistance of the Saratoga County IDA are extremely important factors in our ability to continue to compete on a sustainable basis in the extremely challenging global paper industries,” company officials wrote in their IDA application.

Only five new permanent jobs are promised, though there could be more than 200 temporary jobs during construction.

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