Friday, July 13, 2012

The High Cost of COMIDA

“Mall tax breaks increase taxes for others”
Tax breaks for Greece Ridge Mall will raise taxes for all other taxpayers. By how much you ask? About $25 million if future taxes track past inflation! Check my math.
The pending COMIDA plan freezes mall assessment at $91 million and calls for first-year PILOT (Payment-In-Lieu Of Tax) payments of $3.4 million. These will grow 0.6 percent annually totaling $92 million over 25 years. By comparison, projected full-share tax payments growing at inflation (2.4 percent) would total $117 million. The $25 million shortfall becomes problematic for Monroe County, Town of Greece, and Greece Schools to either reduce their tax levies/spending or raise taxes.
For all who own or rent residential or commercial property, the pending tax breaks should give pause to contemplate three questions. First, should payers bear higher taxes for purposes that are not tied to public spending, and are not ratified by the respective elected governmental boards (county, town, school)?
Second, should public funds be used to subsidize tax expenses for private retail businesses... in a way that favors only a few among many competitors?
Lastly, should taxpayers pay an extra $25 million in exchange for mall renovations reported to cost $11 million, including 5 restaurants?
George Hubbard (Greece Post, 7/12/12, pg. A8)

SCATS ~~ According to GCSD documents, Greece Ridge LLC's estimated FULL valuation for 2011 was $76,087,200. The Assessment Roll lists them as the school district's 2nd largest taxpayer, next to RG&E.


Anonymous said...

Most of these tax breaks are of little or no net economic benefit.

Anonymous said...

I am reading this to say COMIDA is going to raise our taxes.

Who elected them?

george hubbard said...

To: 6:09

1. "Is COMIDA going to raise our taxes?" Technically no… effectively yes. Here’s how-

2. COMIDA (Agency) leases the Greece Ridge Facility.

3. COMIDA is exempt from payment of taxes and assessments.

4. COMIDA does leaseback to Greece Ridge LLC - no property taxes due.

5. Greece Ridge agrees to make PILOT (Payment-In-Lieu-Of-Tax) payments. These will grow 0.6% each year – much slower than full-share taxes will grow.

6. Tax shortfall in future years will be made up with higher taxes paid by all other taxpayers.

7. At public hearing Jun 18, 2012, document states: “The Town of Greece supports entering into this PILOT agreement as it makes good financial sense for our community as a whole, for the long term.”

Comments/questions/corrections invited.

George Hubbard

SCATS said...

To George H. @8:27PM ~~ Who authored that ridiculous statement: "The Town of Greece supports entering into this PILOT agreement as it makes good financial sense for our community as a whole, for the long term.”

Was there ANY supporting documentation used to make their case?

Anonymous said...

How much is that out of town attorney being paid by the school district to fight this? Or is he doing it for free? Are taxpayers footing that bill or is someone else paying it?

george hubbard said...

To: SCATS, 7/13, 8:44pm

1. The statement was included in “Supervisor’s Comments” (2 pages) at hearing Jun 18th.

George Hubbard

SCATS said...

To George H. ~~ I guess that means AUBERGER WANTS IT ... probably some insider deal with the Republican cronies, as is so typical in Greece.

Anonymous said...

COMIDA overestimated the value of this project. The school district overestimated the cost to the district (exagerated property value inflation). The truth requires a compromise. I hope that is what they are discussing.

george hubbard said...

To: 1:15pm
Thanks for information. Please clarify.
1. What is the meaning/interpretation of “cost to the district…”?
2. As a framework for discussion, BOE/GCSD adopts a annual SPENDING budget from which a tax levy is determined.
3. Tax levy balances total REVENUES (net of state aid, PILOT payments etc), with total SPENDING.
4. As future mall PILOT payments (with COMIDA) run lower than full-share taxes woiuld otherwise be (without COMIDA), all other taxpayers pay more (“full-share+”) to cover the shortfall.
5. In summary, mall pays less, others pay more, school gets same levy amouunt with or without COMIDA plan.
6. Are “cost to the district…” in the school budget on EXPENSE side or REVENUE?
George Hubbard

Charlie Hubbard said...

to 1:15 - first of all COMIDA does not estimate anything - they deal with the figures supplied to them.

COMIDA = county of monroe 'industrial' development agency.
COMIDA is way off base granting tax breaks for 'retail' outlets.
COMIDA seems to do what ever COMIDA wants to do. As of now these unelected individuals have the right to raise our taxes via giving tax breaks to 'selected' businesses without approval of county, school, or town government - thats right YOUR elected officials do not have to approve these tax breaks - THAT should concern us all. Does the term 'rubberstamp' come to mind.

Give the school district credit for putting the breaks (at least temporarily) on this overreach by a government agency. We should have the right to know via a public vote how our elected officials view the workings of this government agency. If there was ever an example of government 'out of control' - it's right here.

PS; if this mall tax reduction is approved look for lots of merchants lining up for their share and of course 'your' taxes will pay for it.
PS; COMIDA is way out of line on these items - get back to work trying to attrack industry to our area.

SCATS said...

To Charlie Hubbard ~~ Auberger out-of-control?? YES!!!!

Anonymous said...


D&C articles have said COMIDA gives tax break to mall on Greece school taxes and Greece schools oppose it. Now I hear Town of Greece is for it.

Why does Town of Greece support increasing Greece school taxes when BOE is opposed?

SCATS said...

To 9:23PM ~~ GREAT QUESTION!! You'll have to ask Auberger & Co. While you're at it, ask him to document his statement saying the COMIDA/PILOT "makes good financial sense for our community."

Anonymous said...

To: 9:23PM - - We’ve all heard of ‘backdoor borrowing’. This sounds like ‘backdoor taxation’!

To: SCATS 9:44PM - - When did Greece Town Board approve this?

SCATS said...

To 7:29AM ~~ As I recall, I saw it listed on a preliminary agenda earlier this year ... maybe Feb-Apr timeframe.

george hubbard said...

To: SCATS – Point of information.

1. Previously GCSD budget already had annual PILOTS = $2M from other sources.

2. Town of Greece supports adding another $2M for COMIDA/mall tax abatement ($4M total) and scheduled to grow each year.

3. Greece SD taxpayers will be making up shortfall from property owners that don’t pay full-share taxes.

4. Could be 'SLIPPERY SLOPE’ in the making.

George Hubbard

Anonymous said...

Greece SD cannot make up the shortfall from COMIDA action. They have a tax increase limit.

Dave Garretson said...

Hats off to George Hubbard for his excellent letter. He is exactly on target.

Last month I spoke at the BOE meeting to encourage them to pursue this. As I stated then, this deal is nothing more than a pipeline. It carries money from the taxpayers of Greece and delivers it into the pockets of Wilmorite, cheating the students,teachers, residents and town employees along the way.

There is virtually no benefit to the public in this theft of our money. Please call your board members and Town Board members and urge them to speak out against this deal.