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PILOTs pave way for growth

51 tax agreements countywide bring in about $9.2M in taxes

— “There is no information that is really relevant, it seems to me,” Bertsch said. “To have a report about how much it paid in PILOTs without knowing how much these various entities would pay if there were no PILOT is to keep people in the dark.”

Bertsch added if residents had information on the agreements, “it may very well be most residents” would think it is a good investment.

Gillen disagreed and said issuing PILOTs “is a very public and open process” and Metroplex is “very open and transparent” about its projects.

Information released by Metroplex didn’t outline how far along each agreement is or what percentage of the assessed value is being paid.

In Niskayuna, five of the six PILOTs were given for company expansions. Three of the expansions were at General Electric facilities and total $600,000, which include its Global Research Center, chemical engineering building and Energy Learning Center. Outside of expansions, Unilux at Niskayuna Tech Park is paying around $100,000 on its 67,000-square-foot manufacturing plant built on vacant land.

According to Metroplex, 17 projects were built on vacant land that formerly generated approximately $50,000 in taxes. Now, those properties, with the majority in Rotterdam, are generating more than $1.87 million combined.

There are 15 PILOT projects built on former government-owned or tax-exempt land that generated no tax revenue. This year, they generated more than $1.7 million. Two of those sites are located in Glenville and generate around $360,000 in payments. The rest are located in the City of Schenectady.

“The facts are the facts … and there is misinformation out there on some of these PILOTs,” Gillen said.

Koetzle said PILOT offerings can be beneficial in certain situations, but doesn’t believe all of the 51 agreements are needed.

“If you look at this list and say, ‘All of these people wouldn’t be here otherwise,’ to me that is a difficult argument to make,” Koetzle said.

The complete list of PILOT projects can be found on Metroplex’s website at schenectadymetroplex.org.

“This is how you get new investment into your community,” Gillen said. “We have many other projects that have got done that aren’t on this list that we didn’t use PILOTs.”

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