Bloomingdale Council members seemed Tuesday to have exhausted all that they had wanted to say in regards to entering into a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with the company formerly known as AvalonBay. When it came time to vote on the PILOT program with Bloomingdale Urban Renewal LLC at Tuesday's council meeting, no discussion was had by the members.
Council members voted 4-2 in favor of the agreement with Republican Councilwoman Linda Shortman and Councilman Mark Conklin voting against the program, which will have the developer of a 174-unit luxury apartment complex on Union Avenue making payments of at least $550,000 per year to the borough as opposed to paying standard taxes. The payments will be divided in such a way that the borough will retain 95 percent of the money, the county will retain 5 percent of the money and the school will not receive money, with the exception of a land tax credit.
The program will last for 30 years and , depending on the income derived from the rental units. Bloomingdale Urban Renewal will also not ask the borough for reimbursements for services such as garbage pickup and snow plowing for the length of the agreement.
In the past, both Shortman and Conklin have said they do not approve of the PILOT because the school district would not receive funds. However, along with the ordinance approving the PILOT agreement, the council also voted in favor of an ordinance that will designate all of the funds received through the program to be used for debt relief and any out of the ordinary costs incurred by the school district to be paid for by the borough. The developer estimates a minimal number of children who would utilize the school district to move into the complex.
Last year, the council heard presentations by Councilman Ray Yazdi about the financial benefits of entering into such an agreement with the developer. Yazdi said the money that would be brought in by the program would exceed the amount the borough would earn through standard taxation and both he and Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy promised taxpayers that the money generated would be used to pay down the borough's debt and eventually stabilize taxes. However, the then-Republican council majority voted against the program.
The PILOT program became a campaign issue in November with Democrats favoring the agreement.