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Sunday, December 5, 2010

"What a revoltin' development this is!"

We have heard time and time again how beneficial it is to encourage new development by handing out incentives. Take for example the New Hartford Business Park...that was going to bring new jobs, further growth, and all kinds of financial benefits to taxpayers. Anyone noticed any of those benefits yet?

Here's Mr. Pavia, a local developer, speaking at the November 1, 2010 Zoning Board meeting in an effort to justify PILOT programs:

Mr. Pavia is the real estate broker for the property on Middlesettlement Road where the developer wants to build a senior housing complex by way of a PILOT. Because the zoning in that area does not allow senior housing, they first had to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals who rejected their Use Variance request. The Zoning Board of Appeals also rejected the Use Variance request to allow an Aldi's on property owned by Jay-K Lumber.

Subsequent to being denied by the Zoning Board of Appeals, in both cases, an application for a zoning map amendment has been presented to the town board. A public hearing for the Jay-K re-zoning will be held on January 11, 2011. We will have more information on the Jay-K zoning change request shortly.

In the case of the Senior Housing complex...the present owner of the property will see additional money from the sale; Mr. Pavia will see additional revenue by way of his sales commission; the developer will see extra money because he will be collecting the rent while his taxes will be used to build his complex and Oneida County Industrial Development will gain added revenue to prolong their existence.

But how about the taxpayer who is losing sales tax revenue that normally would be used to offset increased budgeted expenses; not to mention what about the people who live in the area of the development who have to deal with increased traffic; possible stormwater issues; and other issues yet to be uncovered?

For the most part, PILOTs only add to assessed value on paper. Taxpayers are left with additional infrastructure expenses that far outweigh the taxes received the first few years of the PILOT.

Then there is another cost not visible on the surface to New Hartford taxpayers...the impact of decreased sales tax revenue. PILOTs, purchase of taxable property by exempt organizations, reduced assessments given out due to grievances, purchase of land by the town [i.e. Jubilee Estates, the proposed lot purchase at Whitetail and on Tilden Ave.] and the town taking of roads in mobile home parks and private developments; these have all contributed to the decline in sales tax revenue to be used to offset expenses. The distribution of sales tax revenue is based on full assessed value of the town minus all wholly exempt properties to include PILOTs.

Look at the chart below that is based on information provided by Oneida County personnel:

We've provided a pdf version of the above chart for easier reading.

The green bars represent the total distribution of sales tax revenue to the towns in Oneida County from 2006 to 2009 with our "guesstimate" for the 4th quarter of 2010 based on past receipts. The red line represents the percent of sales tax revenue apportioned to the Town of New Hartford on an annual basis. As the chart shows, even though sales tax revenue has increased from 2006 to 2010, the portion of sales tax received by New Hartford is steadily decreasing. If one were to apply the 22.5% of the total received by New Hartford in 2006 to the projected sales tax to be received for 2010, it would show that for 2010 it is projected that New Hartford will lose about $188,500 dollars in sales tax revenue due to a decrease in full assessed value attributed to the aforementioned items.

In 2011, New Hartford's full assessed value will further decline with the sale of the old Hartford building to St. Elizabeth Hospital and the reduced assessed value of Preswick Glen. Therefore, it can be anticipated that our share of sales tax revenue will decline further.

Add to that, the fact that the 2011 budget uses $5 million of anticipated sales tax revenue to offset budgeted expenses. In 2008, the town received $4,945,658.73; 2009 the town received $4,953,600.45; if we receive the same amount for the 4th quarter of 2010 as we did in 2009, we will probably receive $4,968,419.48 or less than the $5 million that was budgeted. Obviously, the results of past practice has fallen on deaf ears.

The previous administration used the "rainy day fund" to cover the shortfall; the current administration has no "rainy day fund" and has been robbing Peter to pay Paul over the past few months. The choices are simple...cut expenses or raise taxes!

And what is it that Mr. Adler is hoping to do, obviously, with the blessing of Mr. Tyksinski, who was quoted in the Observer Dispatch as saying:
“With the 840 access, it’s not just a project that would benefit the developer,” town Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski said. “It would open that whole area for development. There’s more up there than the business park in terms of tracts of land that can be developed.”
Mr. Adler would like the town to bond for the cost of the roadway projects with PILOT payments used to pay off the debt service on the bond.

Two members of the town board are up for re-election this Spring...Richard Woodland in Ward 4 and Christine Krupa in Ward 2. We can't help but wonder how they will vote...four (4) "ayes" are needed to bond!

Strikeslip at Faultlines has some interesting comments Tyksinski: Enabling More Sprawl and Downgrading the Environment at Your Expense!


Anonymous said...

I am betting that the increase in taxes we were saddled with after Reed's departure will become the "new Normal" in this town. With all the pie in the sky "development" plans afoot the town will be needing additional services that will require that the new "temporary" tax rate put in by the new administration becomes our new permanent rate. What a mistake we made when we thought that the new town supervisor was going to make the hard calls to right the ship .He is another pawn in the hands of the greedy good ole boys.

Anonymous said...

The town has gone absolutely NUTS!!! No common sense whatsoever.
I am betting that taxes next year will be the same as this year and will become the norm from now on.If the Planning Board even goes near the Jay-K Project re: Aldi's they should have their heads examined. Every time an accident happens on Commercial Drive it is usually right in front of Jay-K. Open your eyes!!
By the way does anyone know what is going on with Ponderosa Property?? Another empty property in New Hartford....just what we need. What is going to happen to the DanDee property when they take over the Hook property??? This 840 is a mess and should be given alot of thought before New Hartford goes forward!!! Looks like the new town supervisor is all TALK!!!

Anonymous said...

how can the town still be planning these "development" projects when it still hasn't fixed the $160 sewer/stormwater problems?!

I thought the state put a stop on all future developments until the town fixes the current sewage and stormwater problems plaguing the town residents...