Jamestown, Unlike The State, Is Open For Business

Lost amidst the Jamestown City Council’s continuing sideshow, otherwise known as councilman Andrew Liuzzo, R-At Large, was unanimous approval of a deal that is good for city residents and for the developer of the Doubletree by Hilton on Fourth Street.

Earlier this year, HH Jamestown LLC, a subsidiary of the Hamister Group of Buffalo, filed in state Supreme Court to have the tax assessment on the Fourth Street hotel property lowered from $3.3 million. The court set a new assessment of $1.8 million — meaning the city would lose $38,000 in tax revenue from the lower assessment. Mayor Sam Teresi, Vince DeJoy, city development director, and Marilyn Fiore-Lehman, city corporation counsel, renegotiated a loan the city made to the project through the Jamestown Local Development Corporation and approved by the City Council in June 2016. The city will include some federal Community Development Block Grant funding in the project while the Hamister Group agreed to pay the $38,000 in lost tax revenue for the life of the loan.

The situation could have resulted in ill will between the city and the owner of a large parcel of downtown property. Instead, city officials were able to secure the additional tax payment, and kudos to the Hamister Group for agreeing to keep the tax payment to the city the same. Jamestown has enough revenue problems with the state’s constitutional tax limit to try to find another $38,000 that could have disappeared thanks to the state Supreme Court ruling on the hotel’s assessed value. At least the city of Jamestown is acting like Jamestown is open for business, unlike the state of New York, whose governor touts the state’s friendliness to business in promotional campaigns even as the state does its level best to slam the door in the face of the business community.