The Kingston school board voted down a tax break for developers of the mixed-use Kingstonian project in Uptown Kingston.
After more than an hour of debate during Wednesday’s meeting, and an attempt to delay the vote, the school board voted 6-3 against the PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes).
What You Need To Know
- The school board voted 6-3 against a $25 million tax break for developers of the Kingstonian
- Some board members sought a delay in order to negotiate more benefits for the district
- IDA officials have not guaranteed they will follow their own policy requiring the board’s approval for the tax break, but a board member said he received assurance the IDA will follow policy
Developers Joe Bonura Jr. and Brad Jordan had been lobbying for several months for $25 million in property tax relief over 25 years.
During the school board’s November meeting, officials with the Ulster County Development Agency confirmed the school district’s property tax levy would be “shorted” $16 million over the next 25 years if the tax deal were approved.
The project would bring 143 apartments, a parking garage, hotel, promenade, and retail space.
The IDA required developers to get approval from the Kingston Common Council, the Ulster County legislature and the school board. The common council approved an earlier version of the PILOT and the legislature approved the most recent version.
Board member James Michael said a major reason for his “no” vote was that developers and county officials lobbied board members, trying to sell to sell the tax plan, but did not offer much greater tax benefit.
“Everybody lost their credibility,” Michael said of the developers, county executive, and Kingston Mayor Steve Noble. “Everybody lost their trust, because they haven’t been open and honest about the application.”
The IDA hinted during its last meeting with the school board that they might go against their policy that requires local board approvals and give the developers the tax break regardless of the votes, because state law does not directly require those approvals.
Board member Herbert Lamb said he received assurance from the deputy county executive that the IDA will follow their policy.