Golf club tax break angers Amsterdam school board – The Daily Gazette
AMSTERDAM – A recently approved property tax relief for the planned new clubhouse on Amsterdam’s municipal golf course has the Greater Amsterdam School District School Board concerned about the impact on the city’s tax base .
At its meeting on March 21, the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency board unanimously approved a payment in lieu of tax agreement for the soon-to-be-built clubhouse on the land. town-owned golf course on Upper Van Dyke Avenue.
Lance Orcutt purchased the clubhouse property from the city through limited liability companies after the old building was badly damaged by burst pipes. He paid for the cost of demolishing the old structure to make way for the construction of the new, modern facility.
Under the 10-year PILOT agreement, property taxes will start at just 10% of the total assessed property value and increase by 5% each year. Full property taxes will be paid on site after the contract expires.
The exact amount of property taxes for the new pavilion will not be known until a final assessment is established after the construction of the 14,000 square foot structure with a dining room, bar and banquet space at an estimated cost of $3 million.
Members of the GASD Board of Education at a special meeting on Wednesday questioned AIDA’s decision to issue a PILOT agreement for the project which will impact the district’s tax base in the city. Reducing the share of taxes paid on a property requires that these costs be redistributed to all other taxpayers.
“It scares me when we play with levies like this,” said Curtis Peninger, vice chairman of the board.
PILOT agreements are normally issued for projects that create large numbers of jobs, Peninger argued. He suggested that the tax relief was not warranted given the scale of the clubhouse project.
The tax exemption for what is effectively a restaurant and bar seemed unusual to council member Mark Kowalczyk. He wondered if this would lead to all incoming companies expecting the same treatment.
“I think it sets a dangerous precedent,” Kowalczyk said. “There’s no reason they can’t all come in and ask for one.”
The decision is unfair to long-time businesses in the city who are not receiving the same benefits, Gavin Murdoch added.
“I don’t see equality on that,” Murdoch said. “It’s a bad look for people who have been here forever and don’t get any financial tax relief.”
The school board approved a 5-1 motion to send a letter asking the AIDA board to reconsider its decision on the PILOT deal which is “not in the interest of district ratepayers.”
“It’s always a goal to work collaboratively to make things better in the city, but it has ramifications,” said school board chairwoman Nellie Bush.
School board member Reverend Kent McHeard voted against the resolution after indicating his support for the PILOT agreement.
AIDA executive director Amanda Bearcroft said Friday that the board does not have the opportunity to reconsider a PILOT agreement once it is approved, nor to review the related contract issued to the owner.
Letters to school district, city of Amsterdam and Montgomery county officials informing them that AIDA was considering a PILOT deal for ownership of the clubhouse were sent before a decision was made, Bearcroft noted. . No comments on the proposal were returned by any of the three tax entities.
Bearcroft said the PILOT deal was justified because of the substantial investment in the city involved in the project, its economic benefits and the number of jobs it will create. The level of tax exemption was determined after discussion between AIDA’s Board of Directors, lawyers and project representatives.
“The construction of this building is a significant economic asset,” Bearcroft said. “This is much-needed event space for the community and the county that we currently don’t have in the area.”
The tax base will not really be affected by the decision because the property was previously owned by the city and was fully exempt from all property taxes.
“Although we have granted a PILOT, we are going to generate tax revenue through this business, which is more than what we have received in the past, so it is getting something back on the tax rolls,” Bearcroft said. .
Even with the tax relief in place, Bearcroft suggested that tax revenue from the new building would likely be greater than what the much smaller old clubhouse could have brought in had the property been taxable.
In its first year of operation, the clubhouse is expected to create approximately 18 jobs in total. This number is expected to increase the following year to approximately 26 jobs in total.
Construction of the clubhouse is expected to begin this year for a targeted opening ahead of the spring 2023 golf season.
Contact Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.
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