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Legislators seek answers on Unifrax

by jmaloni
Tue, Nov 1st 2011 03:20 pm

Hoyt to testify before Legislature on Unifrax move        

The controversial state-financed move of a downtown Niagara Falls insulation manufacturing company to Tonawanda will receive an airing before the Niagara County Legislature tonight.

The issue will come to a head when Empire State Development Corp. Regional Director Sam Hoyt addresses county lawmakers and answers their questions on the state-backed relocation of Unifrax Corp. The move cost the City of Niagara Falls 94 top-tier jobs and has become a major point of contention for local leaders, including Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, R-Lewiston, who recently questioned the move.

Leading the questioning of Hoyt by the County Legislature will likely be veteran lawmaker Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls. Kimble, deputy minority leader for the 19-member body, is also the lead sponsor of a resolution that calls on the State Legislature to rein in ESD and place restrictions on the raiding of businesses in one community to relocate to another by the taxpayer-funded state agency.

Kimble was also a leading voice opposing the ESD-backed relocation of top-level First Niagara Bank jobs from a new building along the Pendleton/Lockport Transit Road corridor to downtown Buffalo. Niagara County had previously provided incentives to First Niagara, which were negated by the state's actions.

Co-sponsoring the resolution with Kimble are Legislators Brittany I. Catchpole, D-Niagara; Kari Ann Bullman, D-Niagara Falls; ChereƩ J. Copelin, R-LaSalle; and Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Niagara County Courthouse Rotunda, 175 Hawley St., Lockport.

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