By Charles Hamma and Nikolas Donadic
Suffolk County is awaiting word from Seal Dynamics on whether an incentive package they offered on Feb. 22 will be enough to keep them from relocating their headquarters to Florida.
The county’s Industrial Development Agency gave preliminary approval on a $1.5 million incentive package, which includes a $1.1 million reduction in property taxes over the next 15 years, to try and keep the company’s headquarters in Hauppauge, associate director John McNally said.
Seal is seeking to move into a bigger, 51,000-square-foot facility off of Adams Ave. in Hauppauge, executives said. The incentives will be key to keeping them on Long Island.
“If we do not receive these incentives, there is a very likely a chance that our management team, including myself, will move the business from here [Hauppauge],” George Congionti, the senior Vice President of Operations at Seal, said at a Feb. 22 meeting with the IDA.
Seal is home to 76 employees, but the company has pledged to increase that number to 83 by 2021 in exchange for the incentives.
“I am glad there was a resolution,” Mike DeStasio, a shipping clerk at Seal Dynamics, said. “However, I was unaware of these talks anyway.”
The practice of offering tax incentives to businesses to keep them from relocating is fairly common. Rather, it’s a strategy which is deployed fairly frequently.
From 2012 to 2016, 86 projects in Suffolk County were approved for incentives. These projects added $3 billion in value to Long Island’s economy.
“The Suffolk IDA has done a wonderful job of keeping these companies like Seal Dynamics on Long Island and growing, which is what we really need in this economy,” Terri Alessi-Miceli, the President and CEO of the Hauppauge Industry Association of Long Island, said. “We have to do something dramatic, whether it’s tax incentives or grants, to help businesses with their bottom line.”
The Suffolk IDA has been trying to do just that. If New York wasn’t such a high cost area, McNally said, then perhaps enticing businesses with incentives wouldn’t be as necessary. Still, that isn’t to say low cost areas aren’t doing the same.
“But even low-cost regions like Texas or Florida are giving out the same kind of incentives,” he said.
To the chagrin of some local business owners, however, not every industry is viewed as a top priority.
“I mean, it would be great if I could get tax incentives but that’s not going to happen to a pizzeria and restaurant,” Vincent Milano, owner of Setauket Pastaria, said as he chuckled. “They don’t need me. It would only work if they needed me more than I needed them.”
New York State and PSEG Long Island have offered their own incentive packages in conjunction with the IDA’s, McNally said. Seal will give the offers to their parent company, Heico Corporation, to look at and make a decision on whether they will stay. There is no timetable as to when a decision will be reached.