The Ulster County Legislature has given county approval to an Industrial Development Agency Pilot (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement for the transfer of ownership of senior-citizen low-income units at Yosman Tower and the Governor Clinton Hotel in Kingston. After extensive discussion the next morning, the IDA board approved the Pilot, noting that it had been approved by the three local taxing jurisdictions: the school district, the city government and the county.
Together, the buildings contain 196 units of federal Section 8 housing. The developers, Landmark Preservation, L.C. of New York City, whose two principals attended the IDA session, are guaranteed tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks over a 35-year period. They have promised to spend about $40,000 per unit in housing improvements That will of course increase the subsidies the developers will be guaranteed.
The rents will be fixed over that period, increasing two percent a year. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development pays a portion of the rents the limited-income tenants cannot afford.
The final vote was 16-5, in regular session on Tuesday night, with Brian Woltman, R-Kingston, in the minority. Woltman questioned the valuation of the properties, assessed by the city for $6.4 million but sold to New York City developers for $17.9 million. Also voting against the proposal were Joseph Maloney, R-Saugerties, and Democrats Manna Jo Greene of Rosendale, Minority Leader Hector Rodriguez of New Paltz and Laura Petit of Esopus.
Richard Gerentine, R-Marlboro, left the room before the vote was cast and returned after the tally. He was officially marked as “absent,” but said he would have voted in favor if present. He did not explain his absence. Democrat Julius Collins, D-Ellenville, was not in attendance.
The IDA vote the next morning to approve was four to one, with Randall Leverette of New Paltz dissenting.
About a dozen senior residents attended the legislative meeting, several of whom pleaded with the legislators to “save their homes.” Critics questioned what they termed a hurry-up process, which they said left many unanswered questions.
A spokesman for Landmark Developers said a lawsuit launched in December between former partners would not affect the sale and renovation of the buildings. Their attorney made a similar statement to the IDA.