Local buying and local rental policy reinforced by Suffolk tax relief agency
A new buy local and hire local policy will give Long Island contractors more chances to compete for work on projects that receive Suffolk County tax breaks.
All developers who obtain tax assistance from the County Industrial Development Agency for new construction and renovation projects must publicly solicit bids for such work through the agency under the policy adopted this month. -this.
Tender notices “must contain at a minimum the scope of the contract, the planned start and end dates, the methodology for potential bidders to submit a bid and the deadline for submitting bids,” the policy states. modified from Long Island First. “All notices will be publicly available through the IDA website: suffolkida.org. “
Developers are also required to ‘keep documentation of their efforts to comply with this policy’, including annual expense reports and “an explanation of why they chose not to hire a Long Island-based supplier” for the project, the amended policy says. Failure to do so “may result in reduction, loss or clawback of IDA benefits”.
Still, the Suffolk IDA cannot force developers to use Long Island-based companies and workers, as this would violate the US government’s constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce, according to IDA lawyer William. Wexler.
Calls to strengthen the rule
The Long Island First Policy has been in existence for almost 10 years, written by then-secretary and business broker Steve Rossetti. But recently construction unions and local politicians called for the policy to be tightened after some IDA clients hired out-of-state contractors or contractors who employed workers who didn’t live. not on the island.
Union members protested the Hartz Mountain warehouse project in Melville earlier this year, the renovations to the Siena Village subdivision in Smithtown in 2016, and the expansion of Walt Whitman stores in Huntington Station in 2012, among others.
The amended policy of buying local and hiring local “will create increased opportunities for local businesses when investments are made in [Suffolk County] with the help of IDA, ”said IDA Board Chair Natalie Wright, who is also responsible for economic development for County Executive Steve Bellone.
The amended policy was unanimously approved by the IDA Board of Directors, which is made up of volunteers from the business, labor and nonprofit communities. Board members, along with County Labor Commissioner Rosalie Drago and representatives from unions and real estate developers, have been negotiating the policy changes for about a year.
The policy was approved by two union coordinating groups: the Long Island Federation of Labor and the Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council.
Lobby for similar policies
Matthew Aracich, chairman of the building trades council, told Newsday last week he would pressure the region’s other seven IDAs to adopt similar written requirements.
The Nassau County IDA has had a verbal buy local and rent local policy for at least 17 years.
“We recognize that consideration has been given to expanding the level of transparency and compliance of the Long Island First Policy,” said Aracich, former business manager of Local 12 of the Heat & Frost Insulators union. “It is clear that we have all worked in unison and managed to find ways to make this policy fair while tempering expectations.”
Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island developer group, agreed.
“Any effort to encourage more Long Island businesses to compete for the job will only strengthen our economy,” he said, adding that the amended policy would identify gaps in local construction services and skills. employees so that they can be corrected.
In addition to encouraging the use of local contractors and construction workers, the amended policy clarifies the 10-year-old suggestion that IDA clients “where possible… consider purchasing goods. and services from suppliers based in Long Island ”.
Suppliers are now defined as those with a facility in Nassau or Suffolk, a history of working here, and whose workforce is primarily Long Islanders.
Much of the attention paid to the Long Island First Policy has revolved around hiring local construction workers. But Brian Beedenbender, IDA board member and sales director, said: “This policy also includes a lot about where people buy the materials they use when they build a new one. building or have a new extension – and I think that’s just as important.