I’m an Esopus resident who owns two brick-and-mortar businesses in New Paltz and served on the New Paltz Town Planning Board for over six years. This letter is co-authored with Maresa Volante who lives in Kingston and owns a bakery in Kingston near the proposed Kingstonian project. We also own a sweets shop together in NYC.
As business owners who have opened multiple businesses that employ a combined total of 50+ local workers and have never asked for any tax abatements, we are strongly against and outraged by the Kingstonian PILOT.
New Paltz has already passed a statement of opposition and Hurley and Rosendale also have this pressing issue on upcoming agendas. This PILOT will have countywide implications, as well as particular negatives for any taxing entity in the Kingston City School District.
Despite the Kingston school board’s strong vote against it due to the egregious negative fiscal impacts it will create for their school budget for many decades, impacting children/students and taxpayers in the district, for many decades, and as the district faces an estimated $14M in cuts (as in, ~140 teachers/staff eliminations), the Ulster County IDA has approved these harmful tax breaks.
This is the wrong PILOT for the wrong project at the wrong time. The process has not been transparent and we cannot stay silent when so many are financially hurting in our county and this project could greatly increase the wealth of a short list of investors. Not only are they asking for a PILOT with very significant property tax breaks, they are set to get millions in state REDC/DRI economic development grant monies and they will be clearly set to exploit the fact that the project is in a federal opportunity zone which will lead to even more millions in profits for these investors.
Let’s put a microscope on this project, as the consequences are significant and do not move us toward an equitable economy. We cannot keep doing economic development like this, if we do, we are in deep trouble.
Ulster County Legislator Manna Jo Greene noted in her no vote against the PILOT that this project is not green, not at all. Given climate change we needed to stop building construction as is proposed for the Kingstonian decades ago. And the last thing we need is a parking lot in a center, it goes against all contemporary green guidance and climate smart planning. Please also note that the climate exemplar net-zero impact Zero Place in New Paltz, which includes considerable public benefits was constructed without an expensive PILOT, ergo not on the backs of property taxpayers in a pandemic economy in a county where a majority of households needed over 30 percent of their monthly income to keep roofs over their heads even before Covid hit.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.