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Saturday, August 24, 2013

“PILOT Allocation Agreement…what is the status Pat?”

That’s the question Councilman Backman asked Supervisor Tyksinski at the August 14, 2013 town board meeting.

However, before Supervisor Tyksinski could utter even one word, Town Attorney Herb Cully butted in to answer the question for him.

We’ve been around politics long enough to know that when a town attorney interrupts an elected official in order to answer the question that was posed to the elected official, it is usually because the attorney feels that a well-crafted answer needs to be given lest someone find out what the “real” answer is!

In July 2013, Supervisor Tyskinski converted almost $3 million of Bond Anticipation Notes to serial bonds; twice the amount of money he claims to have in the “rainy day” fund. About $600,000 of that borrowing was to pay for the right in, right out to the business park from 840 and the Clinton Street Extension that was supposed to be financed by an Allocation Agreement between LT Group, LLC [Adler], the school, the county and the town.

Remember the vote in March 2009, when Earle Reed said the business park wouldn’t cost taxpayers any money?

According to the signed Allocation Agreement to cover the $2.3 million borrowed in 2009 for infrastructure in connection with moving The Hartford to the business park, no further debt was supposed to be incurred by the town to build the additional access roads UNTIL another PILOT Allocation Agreement was signed by ALL parties so that taxpayers would not end up paying to build roads to the business park.

A February 21, 2011 article in the Observer Dispatch, Increased access to New Hartford Business Park on the horizon, quoted Tyksinski as saying:
The construction work for the access will be paid for primarily by the town bonding for it, Tyksinski said. But the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements for the park businesses will cover the costs of paying off the bonding and also likely will result in some surplus money for the town, he said.
According to the article, Councilman Backman was the only town board member to vote “nay” to support the business park.
“I’m not going to ask First Ward residents to put 5 cents more into the business park out of their property taxes,” he said.

Backman believes the business park can be a positive force of development for the town, but at this point, he thinks it needs to succeed on its own, he said.
That same article left readers with the impression that the New Hartford Central School District was not totally on board.
The New Hartford Board of Education referred the issue to the school attorney and its Budget and Finance Committee, and a decision hasn’t been made yet, Superintendent Robert Nole said.
However, absent a signed agreement for repaying the debt, in July 2011, Supervisor Tyksinski decided to borrow $600,000 in Bond Anticipation Notes so that construction could begin on the roads to Mr. Adler’s business park asap. Apparently, Tyksinski didn’t think it was necessary to have a plan for repayment prior to borrowing $600,000. Mr. Tyskinski had a mission…to see to it that Mr. Adler got what he wanted.

In September 2011, a 100% property tax exemption was added to Mr. Adler’s Hampton Inn parcel. The theory behind a PILOT Allocation Agreement is that a letter would be sent from each of the taxing authorities to bill Mr. Adler for the amount of taxes due and that money would then be used to pay back the $600,000 of bonds.

The problem is, to date, there is still no signed Allocation Agreement. Attorney Cully has presented different documents that supposedly were drafts of the agreement, but when we read them, it was quite obvious that the documents were hastily put together probably just before the town board meetings; we'd like to give the attorneys involved more credit than to believe that any of these documents were a result of their hard work!

The PILOT agreement signed between Larry Adler and Oneida County Industrial Development in September 2011 states that the Allocation Agreement has to be signed within 90 days of the close of the transaction or the agreement is null and void. A lease was signed between Oneida County Industrial Development and Mr. Adler on September 20, 2011 and filed in the Oneida County Clerk’s office. Ninety days has long gone by; Attorney Cully tried to say that everyone has agreed to extend the PILOT agreement; you will hear his explanation on the videotape.

Oneida County and the Town of New Hartford have thus far honored the PILOT and have not billed Mr. Adler for property taxes due on The Hampton Inn. Since Mr. Adler currently still has a 100% exemption from town property taxes, infrastructure costs related to the business park are also being borne by taxpayers.

On the other hand, the New Hartford Central School has been billing for taxes due and our information is that Mr. Adler has paid those taxes to the school, but without an Allocation Agreement, the school is not obligated to turn the money over to be used to pay the bond principal and interest.

FOILed copies of New Hartford school attorney invoices indicate that by March 2012, shortly after the rezoning of the business park to allow retail, the school was contemplating whether or not they were willing to give up over $65,000 of property tax income each year.

Since school district property taxes equal the largest piece of the tax pie, without the cooperation of the school district, there would not be enough money to repay the bond debt [principal and interest] without using taxpayer dollars. However, the question is, should the New Hartford Central School District use taxpayer dollars intended for our children’s education to build roads in support of retail development?

The whole deal seems to be surrounded by stalling, half-truths and pure b/s. We stopped counting how many times the town attorney at town board meetings has tried to make it appear that everything is in order. Attorney Cully told Councilman Backman at the August 14, 2013 town board meeting that all the attorneys are on board and an agreement is almost ready to sign.

Tied up in the middle of all this is Attorney Linda Romano Petralia who is the attorney for Oneida County Industrial Development. Ms. Romano is also the President of the New Hartford Public Library Board of Trustees. Perhaps the connection might explain Supervisor Tyksinski’s lack of desire to deal with the library fiasco.

Bottom line… as it stands right now, it looks like it is going to cost us all in the end. (pun intended).

Unless Tyksinski suddenly pulls a rabbit out of the hat, ALL taxpayers will be paying to retire the debt for the $600,000 prematurely borrowed without a signed PILOT Allocation Agreement in place. Even if all taxing jurisdiction are on board, it is probable that there will not be enough money generated from property taxes to cover the bond debt that has to be completely repaid by 2022.

Running for Town Supervisor on the Republican line is current supervisor Pat Tyksinski v. current Ward 1 Councilman Don Backman. This might be a good year for all Republicans, even those who don’t normally vote in the Primary, to get out and vote on September 10, 2013.

Here's the video:


Anonymous said...

Hello!!! Calling OD reporter Sara Tracy!!! How about doing your job!! Again, One lady and a computer out shines and out does the mighty OD in investigative reporting. Get to work Sara!! Do your job!

Anonymous said...

Tyksinski must GO just like Earl Reed before him. The politics in this town stink like old fish

Anonymous said...

Ahh but maybe billboard style campaign signs all over the town and village will make people forget. Now we are stuck looking at this mess plastered all over for 3 months. Quality of life hmmmm! No shame here,