Business Incentives & Economic Development Programs

The Canton Economic Development Office offers many programs in partnership with other departments, agencies and institutions. Contact Linda McQuinn at the Economic Development Office for more information on any of the programs listed below, or to have the ED Office sponsor your application.

Zoning and Permit Assistance

The Economic Development office can be your first point of contact for the answers to questions you may have about zoning, code enforcement, licenses and permits.

We can also perform research on site availability and assist with annexation and availability of utilities.

Town and Village 485b Tax Exemption Program

The Village and Town of Canton offer a real property tax abatement for certain commercial and industrial projects.

Approved renovations or new construction by local businesses may be eligible for the 485b tax abatement program: 50 percent exemption of real property taxes for the first year on all improvements, increasing by 5 percent per year until the eleventh year, when the property becomes fully taxed. This program is available to provide incentive to make improvements to existing buildings, or for new construction.

If you have questions about the program, or would like to apply for an exemption, please contact the assessor’s office at (315) 386-2595.

For your convenience, copies of the 485b application form, and Instructions for Application for Real Property Tax Exemption for Commercial, Business or Industrial Real Property are available for download at http://www.orps.state.ny.us/ref/forms/index.htm

Alternatively, PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) program agreements can be established between the Town, County, Village and the School district.

St. Lawrence University’s Canton Initiative

St. Lawrence University’s Canton Initiative is an important source of financing for qualified Canton-based businesses. In 1997, the University’s Board of Trustees dedicated $1 million to a community effort entitled the Canton Initiative. In May 2001, the Board voted to add another $1 million to this initiative. The goals are;

  • To invest in and stimulate others to invest in properties within a defined enterprise zone so as to improve the physical attractiveness of the zone and promote its economic enhancement.
  • To increase directly the tax base of the Village and Town of Canton through investment, development, and/or divestiture of tax-exempt University property.
  • To establish and maintain a “partnership” spirit between the University and the Canton community as we pursue projects of mutual advantage together.

The Canton Initiative has assisted or is in process of working on these projects:

  • Development of a new commercial building, which is now fully occupied.
  • Funding for a new restaurant
  • A coffee shop and luncheon cafe
  • A new bed and breakfast
  • A new beauty salon
  • A new clothing and sporting goods store
  • A midwifery and women’s health center,
  • New parking and plans for expansion of parking
  • A new fire station
  • A new day care center
  • Restoration projects for the Heritage Grist Mill and the Grass River Heritage Park Development Corporation
  • Renovation of a historic building on the corner of Main and Court Streets, which was vacant and badly damaged by fire. A copying and mailing business now occupies the building.

Canton Revolving Loan Fund

Program Features and Eligibility

Business Planning Guide

Application for Canton Business Loan Fund Assistance

North Country Alliance Revolving Loan Fund

The North Country Alliance is a not-for-profit consortium of the twenty-four Industrial Development Agencies, Local Development Corporations, and other agencies assisting business development in the North Country. Private for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organizations with 100 or fewer full time employees can apply for funding through the loan fund. The loan amounts are the lesser of $225,000 or 40 percent of the project cost.

St. Lawrence County Microenterprise Revolving Loan Fund

The St. Lawrence County Microenterprise Revolving Loan Fund (MRLF) was established to provide loans to low to moderate income persons in St. Lawrence County, New York to start or expand microenterprise businesses. As such, the primary goal of the program is to stimulate the inception and growth of private sector businesses owned and operated by low-moderate income persons.

With the exception of taverns, all types of microenterprises in St. Lawrence County are eligible for consideration. A microenterprise is defined as those businesses with five or fewer employees, at least one of who is the owner. However, each borrower must qualify as a low-moderate income person as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The only exception to this requirement is when the project will create new jobs and the borrower guarantees that low-moderate income persons will fill 51 percent of the jobs.

St. Lawrence County Revolving Loan Fund

The St. Lawrence County Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) provides monies for the purchase of fixed and non-fixed assets and for working capital.

Businesses that may be eligible for these funds include manufacturing, assembly and warehousing companies. Firms that provide products or services not available to St. Lawrence County-based businesses may also be eligible. Funding is limited to 30 percent of the project or $150,000, whichever is less. The interest rate is the greater of ½ of the prime rate plus 1 percent, or 5 percent. The loan rate will be fixed at closing.

Community Development Loan Fund

The Development Authority of the North Country’s Community Development Loan fund provides financing to businesses in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties with priority given to projects of regional significance to the North Country. The Loan fund targets projects that positively affect the region or enhance particular business sectors.

Eligible activities include manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, industrial reuse, downtown commercial revitalization, infrastructure facilities and selected agricultural projects. Funds are provided for real estate, machinery and equipment, and working capital.

The terms and interest rates are flexible and primarily driven by the project need and useful life of the assets being financed. A target interest rate of 6-8 percent has been established and equity participation in the project being financed of at least 10 percent is required.