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CCIDA Extends Sales Tax Exemption – Village Centre Warns U.S. Companies of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law

By Jann Wiswall

The owners of the Village Centre retail development at the corner of Washington and Mill streets have been approved for a one-year extension of their sales tax exemption by the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency. The original exemption was issued in August 2012.

4646 Genesee, LLC, as the company is known, has leased four of its six retail spaces. Current tenants include Kwik Fill/Red Apple, the EVL Cheese Company, the Village Wine Rack and EVL Ink Tattoo and Apparel. The company is in the process of completing parking areas, a dumpster pad, landscaping and other finishes and expects to lease the final two retail spaces later this year.

(The Ellicottville Times has confirmed that Hamburg’s Armor Inn has signed a lease for the space behind the Kwik Fill. See front page story.)

The CCIDA board unanimously approved the extension request. Board chair Thomas Buffamante noted that, although retail developments are no longer eligible for sales tax abatement in the state, this project was approved before that law was enacted. Thus, it is grandfathered in.

Energy Initiative

CCIDA Executive Director Corey Wiktor reported that he and Crystal Abers, a member of the board and director of the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism, recently met with representatives from Entecco LLC, an energy integration and development company headquartered in Rochester, N.Y. According to its website, Entecco’s mission is to “provide clients with energy solutions that are sustainable and financially responsible to both the public and the environment.”

Wiktor said that the company is promoting a “Next Generation Energy Initiative” that centers on solar energy as a way to help businesses save significantly on one of their biggest, least predictable costs. Using a customized business model, Entecco would serve as a one-stop shop for companies or business centers to take advantage of energy savings without having to make any capital outlay. This would be done by creating public/private partnerships with state and federal funding agencies making the upfront investment in photovoltaic panels and other equipment. Entecco would handle all the behind-the-scenes work to make the transition to solar as easy as possible.

Wiktor said that the IDA’s role in such an enterprise could be direct or indirect. At this point though, he felt the concept was compelling enough to gauge area business interest. Wiktor said he has broached the subject with five large companies already and all have asked for more information.

The board agreed that, whether Entecco’s is the right model or not, getting involved in something like it could be a good fit for the IDA as a way to encourage economic development and employment growth in the county. Wiktor said he will invite Entecco and one of its existing clients to present more information to the board at its next meeting.

Anti-Spam Warning

Through his connection with the CanAm Council, Wiktor also brought to the board’s attention Canada’s new Anti-Spam Legislation that goes into effect July 1. The legislation is intended to reduce the harmful effects of “commercial electronic messages” and threats to electronic commerce and is working toward creating a safer and more secure online marketplace. It is one of the strongest anti-spam laws in the world.

According to the CanAm Council, however, “the downside is that a number of otherwise standard commercial messages may be impacted by the legislation.”

The CanAm Council is concerned that little information about the new law has been communicated to U.S. businesses. But the impact could be considerable.

“Any entity sending emails, voicemails, social media, text messages, etc. into Canada should examine their operations in order to determine compliance. Penalties are severe including, where applicable, individual/director liability,” the council advises.

Companies must have express permission from potential recipients to send a message and the message must clearly identify “themselves and anyone else on whose behalf the message is sent.” Plus, every message must include an “unsubscribe mechanism.”

For more information about the new law and how U.S. companies can continue to seamlessly communicate with Canadian customers, visit http://fightspam.gc.ca/.

The next meeting of the CCIDA board is scheduled for July 22 at 11:15 a.m. in the CCIDA offices at 9 E. Washington St. in Ellicottville.

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