ITHACA, NY – On Wednesday, Ithaca’s Common Council voted unanimously in support of a change in the city’s tax abatement plan for developers. The change would put more stringent requirements on developers in regards to the use of local labor.

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Ithaca’s tax abatement incentive program, CIITAP, has been the subject of months of discussions and revisions attempting to ensure that the tax breaks are as good a deal for the city as they are for developers. Currently, the program is a focus of discussion for the city’s Planning Committee.

Related: Is new tax break plan a better deal for Ithaca?

A meeting of the Planning Committee earlier this month discussed the program at great length, but was only able to settle on language relating to the requirements for using local labor. Local, in this case, is defined as anyone from Tompkins or one of the six adjacent counties.

The new requirements consist of two parts:

1 – Developers must furnish proof that the general contractor solicited bids from local sub-contractors for all major trades required for a construction project.

2 – Developers must provide monthly payroll reporting for all workers and provide a summary of how many are local.

The second requirement seems primarily aimed at gathering data. One of the sticking points for the local labor requirement in previous discussions on the tax abatement program was that there simply was not enough data available. The local labor requirements may see future revisions once it’s clear exactly how much local labor can reasonably be expected to be used in a development.

Economic Development Planner Jennifer Kusznir wrote in a memo: “The Planning Committee will be discussing additional possible changes at the next meeting and may be forwarding additional recommended changes in the coming months.”

If Wednesday’s proceedings are any indication, Common Council may end up voting on amendments to the program, piece by piece, in future sessions.

Related: The fight over tax breaks for Ithaca developers: a beginner’s guide

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.