Hacker Boat Co. has announced it will use a $600,000 grant from the state’s Regional Economic Development Council to move its operations from Ticonderoga to Queensbury, shutting down two local facilities and taking 38-40 jobs out of the community.
A controversial move by a Ticonderoga company drew the ire of members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.
During the Jan. 14 Economic Development Committee meeting, supervisors lashed out at the company, which recently announced it is using a state grant that was secured through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council to move from Ticonderoga to Queensbury.
“What disturbs me the most is to see that they received a grant from the state, and to pirate a company out of one con into another seems wrong,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “If you have a company that is located in one county and then to take state funds and move them 50 miles down the road into another county is just wrong.”
Board Chairman Randy Douglas, a member of the NCEDC, said he was shocked when he learned what the grant was going to be used for.
“I certainly never would have supported this if I knew that this were going to be the result,” Douglas said.
The committee is chaired by Ticonderoga Supervisor Deb Malaney.
“It is wrong. It is extremely wrong,” she said. “The IDA and the town have been working with them since 2011. Gary (Douglass, NCEDC co-chair) is fully aware and very upset about this as well. This situation is the first of its kind. Chains were rattled all the way through.”
“We have worked diligently with them, and we had no idea this was coming,” Essex County IDA co-director Carol Calabrese said. “We had direct communication throughout this, and we had no idea. We have continued to reach out with them in case there is any possible way that we can retain any of their operations within Essex County.”
Scozzafava said this was a drastic blow to a hard-hit county economy made worse by the fact it is being state sponsored.
“This is no reflection on the city or Ticonderoga or the IDA; it just shows that the playing field is no longer level,”Scozzafava said. “To take jobs away from one of the poorest counties in the state through a state grant is just plain wrong.”