Who has the steering wheel over at SUNY New Paltz? The SUNY NP Foundation is pursuing a lawsuit against the Town of New Paltz and SUNY continues to buy newspaper advertisements challenging the Town of New Paltz Planning Board’s decision to deny approval of Wilmorite’s Park Point private housing project because of the adverse impacts Park Point would have on our community. This comes after the Planning Board spent years reviewing and analyzing Wilmorite’s application and then voted unanimously to deny.
SUNY’s ad campaign implies that our community is foolishly forfeiting new revenue. Unfortunately, this is simply incorrect. In addition to the Planning Board, The New Paltz Board of Education clearly explained their concerns in their December 2013 resolution on Payment-In-Lieu-Of-Tax (PILOT) agreements and in their July 2014 position statement on Housing and Dormitory PILOTs.
The NP Board of Education explained that “the funds that are received from a PILOT are not allowed to be used to increase the school budget, even when there may be additional costs to the district. There is no ‘new money’ that the District can use, because the law is specific about how PILOT funds are offset by decreases in other forms of revenue.”
But what feels more surreal than SUNY ignoring our District is that Wilmorite’s own consultant, Camoin Associates, has also explained this problem. Simply search for Camoin’s 2012 presentation to the NYS Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors or Camoin’s 2012 memorandum to the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency and the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation and you will see PILOT schemes are harmful to school districts.
Camoin said, “The way the legislation (NYS property tax cap) is currently formulated, school districts and municipalities are materially adversely affected by PILOT arrangements. It is natural to assume that school districts and municipalities may oppose any PILOT agreements.”
Our community deserves an explanation, not a marketing campaign.
Tim Rogers (Individual Capacity Only)