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General Brown board passes resolution for proposed tax break

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DEXTER — The General Brown Central School District Board of Education this week consented, barely, to a proposed tax break for the construction of an Eagle Beverage distribution center on Little Tree Drive.

Board members Monday approved the resolution 4-0, with three abstentions, allowing just that. But board member Jeffrey West, who works for Eagle Beverage, abstained from the vote. The board knew for some time Mr. West’s position, but right before the vote Monday, board member Bruce C. Strough said one of his companies does business with Eagle Beverage, so district Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. suggested Mr. Strough also abstain. Then, board member Cynthia L. Humerickhouse, who is store manager at the Walmart Supercenter in Evans Mills, said she should abstain, too.

Mr. West said the board may be “passing something that won’t happen.” Donald C. Alexander, CEO of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, said the agency has been apprised that the scope of the project may change, and “we may need to go back for further authorizations from taxing jurisdictions” at a later date.

“The county and the town passed this a long time ago,” Mr. Alexander said.

Mr. Vigliotti noted that the distribution center will not cost the school district anything.

“It’ll put money into district coffers with no students,” he said. “With this type of PILOT, the district would receive a payment in lieu of taxes. This is just a way for the county to encourage businesses to move into the area. What it amounts to is an outstanding opportunity for the district to receive additional revenue without any additional expense.”

The financial benefit to the district is still unclear.

Mr. Alexander said the board does not need to take any other action if the project comes to fruition.

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