Town Board appoints Larry Simms to Riverhead IDA

Larry Simms, an outspoken critic of the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency, is now a member of that board.

The Riverhead Town Board appointed the South Jamesport resident to fill a vacancy on the IDA Tuesday by a 3-2 vote, with Councilman Jim Wooten and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio opposed.

Both said they felt there were better candidates available.

The IDA gives tax breaks to businesses as an incentive to lure them to Riverhead, but in recent years, it’s come under fire from critics, including Mr. Simms, who say it’s at times been giving tax breaks to businesses that seemingly were coming to Riverhead anyway.

The opening on the IDA came about when longtime IDA member Lou Kalogeras stepped down because he was moving to Florida.

At a March 15 work session, Town Board members discussed a draft resolution to appoint Mr. Simms to the IDA, but changed its mind in order to interview other potential candidates.

The normally outspoken Mr. Simms declined to comment on his appointment, other than the written statement he submitted in March when he was under consideration for the position.

It read: “I fully support the IDA’s mission of attracting business to Riverhead and creating good jobs. With my extensive business background and skills, I believe I can help the agency better determine whether subsidy applicants genuinely need assistance, and whether projects will deliver a net benefit to taxpayers.”

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