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Tax breaks approved for two Vista projects

Cunningham speaks out against abatements, two applications delayed

— The business would relocate 10 existing jobs and add four jobs, according to Keaney, with $1.5 million in private investments. The abatement would grant $120,000 in incentives and $130,000 in payments in lieu of taxes would be received over 10 years. The lease for the practice would be for 15 years.

The second building would be 15,000 square feet with two stories. It would house Cornea Consultants, an eye care and vision corrections practice with offices currents in Slingerlands. The business would retain nine jobs with the potential to add one. The project would also add a possible $1 million equipment investment for the practice. The abatement would grant $351,000 in incentives and $134,000 in payments in lieu of taxes would be received over 10 years.

“As we said before, the doctor would like to stay here,” said Stephen Reilly, a partner with Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna, on behalf of Albany Enterprises. “He has lost his lease through no fault of his own… he would like to stay, but the IDA benefits are an extremely important factor.”

Morelli said construction of the ShopRite grocery store and two banks within Vista are continuing on schedule. Those projects were granted tier I abatement status, considered an advanced agreement with applicants obtaining 100 percent abatement on property taxes for the first two years of the 12-year agreements.

After the proposals were first announced, Town Board candidate Jack Cunningham released a statement condemning the tax breaks and calling for greater oversight of the IDA.

“Tax abatements are designed to attract desirable business and attract economic growth,” said Cunningham in a statement. “Abatements for retail establishments are uncommon and providing abatements to companies that are already slated to move to the office park as well as retail businesses that will compete with existing retail in our town is ridiculous.”

IDA board member Pat Bulgaro asked a Friday’s meeting if it was possible to rescind retail abatements.

Thomas Connolly, counsel to the IDA, said because developers are relying on the tax breaks in order to build, reneging on any deals could result in a lawsuit.

“I think you're getting into a risky area,” he said.

Contracts stipulate the IDA can terminate the PILOT agreement with developers if businesses do not meet 80 percent of the promised employment rates.

Morelli said some of the projects slated for Vista may still need to appear before the town’s Planning Board.

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