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The Upstate Economy

Welch Allyn gets tax break for energy upgrades

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Global medical device maker Welch Allyn was granted the first tax break for energy upgrades to part of its Skaneateles headquarters.

After three years of waiting, the first-ever "energy efficient" tax break has finally been awarded by the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA).

And the winner is ... Welch Allyn, a global supplier of medical equipment to hospitals and doctor's offices.

Welch Allyn sunk $5 million into putting a LEED Gold certified addition on its research and development building at its Skaneateles headquarters.It first approached OCIDA about its green payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program when it started back in 2008, before work on the building began, according to OCIDA's Executive Director Mary Beth Primo.

Work on the R&D building was finished about a year ago, but it took until December for LEED Gold certification to come through.

Just this week OCIDA formally approved giving Welch Allyn a tax break. It will initially get a 60 percent reduction on the property taxes for the expansion that will wind down over the next 10 years.

Tax breaks from IDAs aim to retain or create job by offsetting costs. While this green PILOT may not directly do that, OCIDA's Primo admits, it will still encourage companies to make large investments in the region.

"Not only is it great for the environment, but it's another incentive, or another carrot to a company," she says.

As interest among companies to make energy efficient upgrades grows, Primo says OCIDA has revised the program.

A spokesman for Welch Allyn says OCIDA's program fit nicely with their upgrade plans. With the money saved from the tax break, Welch Allyn will be able to make future investments in their facilities, according to the spokesman.