Golden Hill buyer will have to pay more taxes, offer more jobs to keep tax breaks

The Ulster County Industrial Development Agency (UCIDA) has agreed to keep a tax-break deal on the Golden Hill nursing home in place when it’s sold — with some significant modifications. Over the next 19 years, the new owners will have to pay several million dollars more in taxes than had been laid out in the original agreement, and they are also committing to raising the minimum number of full-time positions at the facility.

The nursing home was a county facility until 2013, when it was sold to an acquisitions company for $11.3 million. The IDA granted a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (Pilot) agreement which called for annual payments to the county, city, and school district in lieu of taxes. According to posted information, in 2019 the payment was $154,648, whereas the full tax due would have been $494,962.

Last November a group of investors, including two who also have a stake in the Ten Broeck Commons nursing home in Lake Katrine, agreed to purchase Golden Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for $37.6 million. The purchasers wanted to have the original Pilot agreement assigned to them, taking on all terms as-is. The IDA opted to exercise the right to renegotiate. The purchasers reportedly nearly gave up on the talks, but IDA counsel Joe Eriole is being credited with convincing them to accept lesser terms rather than have no tax abatement at all.

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Under the new agreement, which the IDA approved after holding a virtual public hearing August 25, the Pilot schedule has been adjusted such that some $3.6 million more will be paid over its term than was laid out in the original. Normal property taxes will be assessed after 2038.
The investors are also committing to 330 full-time-equivalent positions, which is up from the 242 established in the original agreement. Furthermore, nursing-home quality standards are also now baked into the deal, with minimum star ratings and nursing hours as tracked by health officials being included. According to IDA chair James Malcolm, including the ratings provides another safeguard to ensure that the facility remains successful enough for its owners to comply with the terms and provide a return for the tax breaks.

Though Dave Donaldson, chair of the county legislature, congratulated the agency for performing the due-diligence necessary to work out a better deal for taxpayers, he thought it could successfully have pushed for even more, saying, “It’s much more workable, but I’m not sure it’s enough.” 

Donaldson also raised the issue of traffic on Glen Street, which he described as a “a quiet country road, despite being in the City of Kingston.” Neighbors have raised this same problem to legislators as they considered starting the process of selling the old county jail which, like the nursing home, has access points on Boulevard (Route 32) and Glen Street. Donaldson described efforts to get delivery and fire-truck drivers to use Route 32 to access the nursing home, but noted that vehicular traffic on Glen Street remains high enough to be a serious concern to residents. Solomon Klein, one of the new investors, signaled a willingness to work on a resolution.

Other comments submitted in writing for the hearing were unavailable to the public on Monday.

In expressing his enthusiasm for the new deal, Malcolm touted the advantages of having an IDA in the first place. “A successful Pilot is your best advertisement,” Malcolm opined, because “people want to know that they can go somewhere and do business with professionals, and their needs are going to be addressed and met.”

Other board members echoed his enthusiasm, with Rick Jones touting the fact that $3.6 million less is being taken from the taxpayers, and new member Orlando Reece saying that this effort demonstrates that “we’re really looking at being serious.”