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IDA, City, Covenant Manor Officials To Meet Privately

Officials involved in the possible extension of the payment in lieu of tax for Covenant Manor Apartments will meet privately to continue discussing the proposal Friday.

Vince DeJoy, city development director, said officials from the city, the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency and Millennia Housing Development on behalf of Prairie Covenant NY, L.P., who own Covenant Manor Apartments, will meet to discuss the possibility of the IDA Board approving a seven-year extension to the 10-year pilot agreement that was approved in 2012.

A public hearing was held Tuesday on the proposal, with DeJoy on behalf of the city speaking against the proposed extension. DeJoy said, if the PILOT extension was approved, it would cost the city a total of $316,000 in property tax revenue during the seven-year extension. If the extension is approved, it would provide a total tax exemption, which includes the city, county and Jamestown Public Schools, of $769,500.

”We don’t feel comfortable going out that far. We don’t feel comfortable expanding the PILOT,” DeJoy said. ”Seventeen years for a PILOT is a long time. It puts additional burden on the local taxpayers. We feel it should be borne by the developer.”

Richard Dixon, IDA chief financial officer, said the IDA Board is slated to vote on the possible extension at their next meeting, which starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday. He said prior to the board vote, there will be a deviation hearing for the taxing jurisdictions, the city, county and Jamestown Public Schools. He added only the taxing jurisdictions can speak during the deviation hearing. No county or school officials attended the public hearing.

”The deviation hearing is being held because the request is different than the uniform tax exempt policy. We don’t have a policy for an extension so the law states we have to invite the taxing jurisdictions to the deviation hearing,” Dixon said.

In a letter submitted by DeJoy during the public hearing, he states Millennia Housing Development will benefit from a savings of $1,132,258 in real property taxes during the first 10 years of the PILOT, which is scheduled to run through the year 2022. Along with the PILOT, Millennia also received a sales tax, mortgage recording tax and real estate transfer tax exemption as well.

DeJoy states city officials don’t believe the reason and rational provided for an extension are warranted. He states the Millennia Housing Development has cited unforeseen additional costs for rehabilitation to the exterior facade as well as investor and lender’s project financing requirements to meet financial thresholds are the reasons that the request were made to extend the PILOT. He added those project challenges should not be the responsibility for local property taxpayers.

DeJoy states city officials are pleased Millennia Housing Development has invested roughly $2.3 million of improvements to the building as of Dec. 8, 2016. City officials stated the investment improved the living conditions for the apartments and added additional security for the low-to-moderate-income senior independent living facility.

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