IDA's work together to help local company
While IDA’s have garnered a fair amount if negative attention in local and state-wide media, the approval of Harper’s project deserves attention as well.
Harper International Corporation was founded in 1989 and has maintained its headquarters and manufacturing operations in the Village of Lancaster. Harper International as noted on their Web site, “is a global leader in complete thermal processing solutions, as well as technical services essential for the production of advanced materials.”
In early 2012, the company pursued an expansion project at their current site and sought the asstaince of the Lancaster IDA.
“As chairman of the Lancaster IDA, I worked closely with officials from Harper International and Paul Leone, consultant to the Lancaster IDA,” said Fudoli.
Although the Lancaster IDA approved Harper International’s project in June of 2012, the company later put their project on hold, opting instead to relocate their operations and headquarters to a new facility. The company pursued other facilities within the Town and Village of Lancaster, but found Quad Graphics, formerly known as Quebecor, building in the Village of Depew to be most suitable for their operations.
When it became apparent that Lancaster would be losing a well-respected and very successful firm to another municipality, Leone was quick to refer Harper International’s officials to the Eric County IDA, as the Lancaster IDA could no longer assist the company.
The Lancaster IDA did not collect any fees from Harper International other than the standard $500 application fee. It was then Harper International began to work with the Erie County IDA on their relocation to the Cheektowaga portion of Depew.
The Erie County IDA in turn reached out to the Town of Lancaster and the Town of Cheektowaga, as required by New York State law that regulates IDA’s. The Town of Lancaster and Town of Cheektowaga responded to the Erie County IDA, praising Harper’s decision.
In a letter to Leone, Thomas Kittell, CFO of Harper International wrote: “I would really like to thank you for all of your help (one again) putting together and pushing these incentives through… especially since Lancaster is losing us. This means a lot to the future of this business and I personally appreciate your efforts.”
“I congratulate Harper International Corporation and wish their organization many years of continued success,” remarked Fudoli. “I thank the Erie County IDA for recognizing the importance of retaining Harper International in our community and thank Paul Leone for his tireless efforts to assist the company.”
“I hope the critics who have been attempting to minimize the power of local IDA’s can reflect on Harper’s story and recognize that cooperation between local agencies and municipalities played a crucial role in retaining this firm in Erie County and enabling Harper’s future growth and success,” added Fudoli. “This cooperation should serve as a model for a new regional approach to allow the five local IDA’s in tandem with the Erie County IDA, to assist all municipalities in Erie County with identifying eligible projects.”