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IDA Gives Main Street A ‘Boost’ 

Suffolk County IDA Executive Director Anthony Manetta is flanked by Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce Chairmen Jim Kelly and Bob Bontempi after speaking to chamber members Tuesday.

A county initiative designed to stimulate economic growth in small tech businesses is delivering a shot of adrenaline to downtown Huntington.

That was the message from Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Executive Director Anthony Manetta, who told Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce members during a Tuesday morning networking breakfast that four of seven projects funded under the Boost initiative are now located in Huntington village.

The initiative is designed to help entrepreneurs create high-paying jobs in economic growth sectors like IT, biology and life sciences, pharmacy, green technology and energy businesses.

“We started rolling out a much more aggressive approach because we saw an exodus of companies from Suffolk County,” Manetta said.

In addition to offering packages of property, sales and mortgage recording tax relief, the IDA helps large – and more frequently of late, small businesses through the Boost program – stay in and relocate to Suffolk County.

The Boost program in particular has had an impact on Huntington, Manetta said. Of seven Boost projects, four are in Huntington, the most recent being an 8,000 square-foot, high-tech business accelerator on Main Street, which Manetta said should generate 50-60 “high-paying, high-tech software jobs right here in downtown Huntington village.” The IDA is also expecting to establish an office at that accelerator in late fall, the director said.

“It’s going to be great for the local economy, great for downtown merchants and great for the companies, because that’s the lifestyle and the needs that they want,” he said.

The Boost initiative kicked off in July 2012 by providing more than $50,000 in incentives to Work Market, a software firm that relocated from New York City to Huntington village and agreed to hire 25 new workers over a two-year span.

The IDA is also encouraging its participating companies to buy and spend locally, Manetta told the chamber. Any company that works with the IDA is now required to list the jobs it promises to create at jobs.suffolkida.org to help locals apply for those positions.

“One of the important things we stress with every IDA company is, ‘Long Island first,’” Manetta said, noting that the policy encourages companies to use local labor and suppliers. “That just creates that multiplier effect in our local economy.”

The agency, which is funded by fees paid by companies to work with the IDA, has approved 35 projects, which meant retaining over 6,000 jobs and creating over 2,100 new jobs, Manetta said. That resulted in $90 million in new payroll and $370 million in local capital investments, he added.

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