College board approves tax-free zones

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton-Montgomery Community College Board of Trustees unanimously approved the college’s START-UP NY plan, which would establish tax-free zones for businesses within the region.

The plan still needs to approved by the State University of New York and Empire State Development.

Colleges interested in participating in the program had to develop a plan for implementation.

The plan was developed in conjunction with economic development officials from Fulton and Montgomery counties and was reviewed by all municipal boards, unions and student organizations identified in the law, according to meeting documents.

The Campus Plan for Designation of Tax-Free Areas includes three sites: The Tryon Technology Park in Johnstown and Perth, the Florida Park Extension in Amsterdam and the FM Foundation property along Route 67 and Bendick Corners Road in the town of Amsterdam.

According to the plan, the Tryon site, recently assigned to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, has the infrastructure needed to be redeveloped into shovel-ready sites where new businesses can locate. The Florida Park Extension is also ready for development and offers easy access to the New York state Thruway. The FM Foundation Property consist of approximately 60 acres.

Up to 200,000 square feet outside the FMCC campus would be included in the tax-free zone, although college President Dustin Swanger said any of the land already on the college campus that could be used for a potential business wouldn’t be included within the limits of the off-campus sites.

START-UP NY, an initiative by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is allowing communities across the state to establish tax-free sites for new and expanding businesses. Those businesses would operate 100 percent tax-free for 10 years, including no state income tax, business, corporate, state or local taxes, sales and property taxes or franchise fees.

A business moving into the tax-free zone would have to be a new company in New York state, a company from out of state relocating to New York or an expansion of a company that already has employees in New York.

Swanger said the businesses moving into these sites have to be specialized in production.

The document will now go to SUNY for approval before ultimately reaching Empire State Development for final approval.

Swanger said then a company would file an application and then a similar process will begin.