KINGSTON, NY — A payment in lieu of taxes agreement for the Stuyvesant Charter property as part of the apartment complex’s renovation plans would be a win-win for the city and would serve the greater good, some aldermen said.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the Common Council voted 6-1 in favor of a 32-year payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement for the Sheehan Court apartment complex. Under the agreement, the owners would pay $144,000 in property taxes for the first year, which would increase by 2.5% each year thereafter. There would also be a one-time $120,000 “municipal impact fee” payment to the city as part of the deal.
The apartment complex currently pays around $99,000 a year in taxes.
Alderman Michele Hirsch, D-Ward 9, voted alone against PILOT, while Alderman Reynolds Scott-Childress, D-Ward 3, recused himself because he sits on the Kingston board Housing Authority. Alderman Steven Schabot, D-Ward 8, was absent.
The apartment complex is owned by Stuyvesant Charter Inc., which in turn is controlled by the Kingston Housing Authority. Stuyvesant Charter Inc. and the Kingston Housing Authority plan to partner with Mountco Construction and Development Co. to redevelop the 120-unit apartment complex, with the housing authority retaining 51% ownership.
The PILOT agreement was requested as part of the redevelopment proposal.
Hirsch said the majority of Stuyvesant Charter apartments currently house extremely low-income residents who earn less than 30% of the area’s median income. She said she was in favor of the renovation of the apartments.
“What I do not support is the funding structure of the proposed project, as it will be a for-profit project that will include the use of low-income housing tax credits that will provide a benefit to investors,” Hirsch said. . “Going forward, rents will be increased and future residents will be charged 60% to 80% of the AMI (area median income).” She said it would turn low-income housing into affordable housing and worsen the city’s current housing crisis.
Majority Leader Rita Worthington, D-Ward 4, said she believes the project will be a win-win for both apartment complex residents and the city. She added that it had been a long time since council had been approached by residents asking for a PILOT deal and in this case it meant they were happy with the developer and the Kingston Housing Authority.
“I have to say that while I’m a city representative and we have to look out for the best interests of the city, on this resolution, I’m going to look out for the best interests of the tenants,” Worthington said. She also said the council had asked the developer and the housing authority “a ton of questions” about whether the flats would remain affordable and had been assured that they would do everything in their power to help them. maintain as such.
Minority Leader Michael Olivieri, a registered Democrat who won the Ward 7 election on the Republican Party line, said he originally voted against the PILOT deal in committee based on incorrect information about the estimated value of the development.
“I’ve learned that properties that are considered low-income have much lower tax bills to compensate for being low-income,” Olivieri said. He said he takes the PILOT agreements very seriously, but the city would get more from the developer on this project. Olivieri said the project will benefit residents and all of Kingston, which serves the greater good.
Alderman Tony Davis, D-Ward 6, said the resort is in his neighborhood and he had the opportunity to speak to residents there, and none of them said that he didn’t want the PILOT. He said renovations were slow to come and if the PILOT was not approved, the apartments would continue to deteriorate.
Ahead of the council vote, several members of the Kingston Housing Authority board urged aldermen to endorse the PILOT, saying it would provide residents with a safe and comfortable place to live.