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Should Wilmorite get tax-breaks for mall redevelopment?

Rochester, N.Y. - Monroe County's industrial management agency, COMIDA, will vote Tuesday whether to allow Wilmorite tax breaks to redevelop Marketplace Mall.

Wilmorite said it cannot finance the $30 million renovation plan with the pilot tax plan which offers a fixed property tax increase of one percent each year for the next 25 years.

Shoppers love the idea of three new stores and restaurants coming to the mall.

Taxpayers think its a good idea too but they worry they will end up paying higher taxes if the mall goes under. Some believe 25 years is too long to offer these benefits.

They would like to see the plan adjusted to 20 or 10 years. The Rush-Henrietta school district also has no problem with the development but opposes the use of tax breaks for a retail business.

Superintendent, Dr. Kenneth Graham said Comida is supposed to provide tax incentives to industries who create high-paying jobs.

Graham said he worries about the long-term implications of such a tax deal and said if the mall doesnt deliver on its promise to create jobs and boost other businesses, taxpayers could end up paying more.

Wilmorite said it is shovel-ready and will begin construction in 30 days if the tax breaks are approved. Dennis Wilmot said the company cannot finance the deal without the benefits from the county.  The incentives would be built-into leases signed by the three new stores.

They arent naming the big box store that could be part of the plan. They do say it is the first store of its kind in New York State.

COMIS board members will vote on the pilot tax plan at noon on Tuesday at the Watts Building downtown.

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Washington Times