Town of Saugerties attorney John Greco is holding a signed check for $43,000 while the town works out how to accept it in the light of supervisor Kelly Myers’s refusal to sign off on a board decision to settle with senior housing developer Steve Aaron of Birchez Associates.
But according to two town board members, that’s a temporary condition. Councilman Fred Costello said this week that it may be legal for the board to accept Aaron’s payments even if the supervisor doesn’t sign it. Councilman Jimmy Bruno said the deal is essentially done.
Previously, there was some speculation that the matter could end up in court, with the town having to sue the supervisor to complete the agreement. But last week, the councilmen weren’t worried about that.
The payment is considerably less than the amount originally negotiated in 2005 with Steve Aaron, the principal of Birchez Associates, developers of The Birches, a 60-unit apartment complex for senior citizens with low incomes. The original Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement, signed in 2005, called for payments of 6.5 percent of gross rents, with a minimum of $400 per unit. The town received no payments since 2008. Four town board members agreed to accept the present deal, which calls for a $43,000 up front payment and payments of $12,000 per year, with a 2 percent increase each year.
Supervisor Kelly Myers has refused to sign off on the deal, saying the town should take Aaron to court and get the full amount of the original agreement. Board members say the supervisor is obligated to sign documents approved by the board majority
However, Costello said the town might well spend thousands of dollars more on legal action and end up with a similar deal.
“We don’t have to go through an expensive case,” said councilman James Bruno. “We know what we will be receiving.”