Full Circle Packing, the company that hopes to build a meat packing plant in the Route 5S South Business Park, will have to take its proposal to the Frankfort Town Council before the matter can be referred to the town planning board. The town council voted last month not to support the project.
In the meantime, some residents already have concerns about the proposed $18 million project and they were voicing them at Wednesday’s meeting of the town planning board.
Representatives of the start-up corporation attended the planning board meeting Wednesday in the town hall to ask about procedures and answer any questions about the plant that is being proposed.
Full Circle Packing is proposing to build a 40,500-square-foot meat processing plant on five acres of land at the business park.
John Zielinski, CPA, who serves as chief financial officer for Full Circle Packing, introduced builders and designers William Blanchard and Ray Cudney of VIP Structures, of Syracuse, and explained this was a “very preliminary” step in possibly developing a plant at the business park.
Michele Spaman, chairwoman of the town planning board, offered written information on planned development in the town.
Blanchard said their purpose in attending the meeting was to inquire about the town’s procedures and to give board members a chance to look at a map showing the proposed building site and ask any questions they might have. He said the five-acre parcel Full Circle is proposing to build on should be sufficient. Cudney added the company would also have an option to buy a second parcel in the park
“We understand the park is ready to build in,” he added.
Mark Feane, executive director of the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency, outlined the financial impact the company would have in taxes alone. The IDA approved Full Circle’s request to purchase land in the business park and tax abatements last week. Feane said the IDA OK’d a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement for the project. PILOT agreements are necessary to attract business to the area, he said.
He presented estimated tax figures based on a $14 million assessment and current tax and equalization rates. He said the project would generate $54,317.57 for the town, $72,638.66 for the county and $276,587 for the school district based on the full tax rate. The first year of the PILOT agreement, the totals would be half that amount - $27,158.79 for the town, $72,638.66 for the county and $138,293 for the school district. The amount would increase each year until the business was paying the full amount in taxes, he said.
“This is not an insignificant investment,” said Feane.
Frankfort Town Supervisor Joseph Kinney questioned whether the town or the school would see any money in taxes initially.
Page 2 of 2 - “Two years ago, Herkimer County introduced PILOT increment financing,” he said. Under that plan, the county would take the PILOT funds until a specified amount is reached, he said, adding, “It could be five, six or seven years down the road” before the school and town receive tax money from the project.
Feane said the town and school should be receiving a pro-rated share.
When contacted Thursday, County Administrator James Wallace said the PILOT increment financing plan had been changed due to concerns raised. Half of the money paid under the PILOT agreement would go toward reimbursing the county for the $800,000 it put into the infrastructure at the park and the other half would be divided among the town, school and county.
Kinney asked if Full Circle had considered locating in any of the business parks in Oneida County.
Zielinski said the Frankfort site is shovel-ready and has municipal power. It is also 300 yards from state Route 5S with access to the Thruway in Utica or Herkimer. He added sites in other areas have reached out to Full Circle.
“This is our first choice,” he said.
The plant would be processing 200 dairy culls a day as well as 200 calves for veal.
Asked about flies and odors, Zielinski said the project falls under USDA food safety regulations.
“Even the renderings have to be sprayed down with disinfectant,” he said.
“You can’t hide the smell,” said John Pedone, a resident who attended the meeting.
Gerry Elthorp, of the Herkimer County Fair, said the fair has a $4 million economic value to the county and having a slaughterhouse nearby could deter some groups from holding their events there. She commented afterward that during the fair there are some 150 animals on the fairgrounds.
“You have manure, smells and flies,” she said. “When they go, the flies go.”
Zielinski said the plant would be across the road from the fair and at the far end of the park.
Feane said he had visited the Gold Medal Meat Packing plant on Old River Road in Floyd.
“You cannot tell from the parking lot what’s in there,” he said.
Zielinski said after the meeting that VIP Structures would be preparing a site plan to present to the town council for approval. He also commented modern USDA meat packing plants are not what they used to be. They are required to address odors and other concerns. The project would be expected to bring 65 new jobs to the area.