Letter: A few questions about the IDA and Vista

Editor, The Spotlight:

The Bethlehem Industrial Development Agency Vision Statement is as follows: “The Town will grow in a manner that maintains and enhances its preeminent residential and semi-rural character through the attraction of high quality, clean, commercial development to carefully planned and strategically located sites. Residential neighborhoods in the Town will be enhanced by proximity to open space, pedestrian oriented facilities, high quality employment opportunities and neighborhood scale commercial services.”

The Bethlehem Industrial Development Agency (BIDA) 2012 Audit Report by Cusack & Company is available on the Town of Bethlehem, BIDA website or at the BIDA CEO’s office on the second floor at the Town Hall.

Questions relating to the BIDA 2012 Audit Report by Cusack & Company

  1. Six of the (17) projects are construction. The total Estimated Net Job Change is 197. Can these 197 jobs be considered other than temporary?

  2. Does the $1,059,083.27 cost per job gained for the Selkirk Cogen project make it a questionable BIDA investment?

  3. The projects at 35 Hamilton Lane and 41 Hamilton Lane are listed as Finance, Ins., and Real Estate. Is this an unusual location for these types of business?

  4. Do the Berkshire Bank and SEFCU actually need tax exemptions?

  5. Do the two Slingerlands I LaSalle Med. Office projects current number of Full Time Employees (FTE) of 73.5 and 109 seem reasonable?

  6. Is the YMCA project estimate of 150 jobs to be created a realistic number?

  7. IDA Projects involve exemptions of taxes. Do the officials or boards representing NYS, local, county, school and mortgage have the opportunity and right to review and approve or disapprove the proposed reduction in taxes by the IDA Agency officials? If the answer is no, this is actually taxation without representation since the taxpaying public has to make up the difference between the tax exemption and PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes).

  8. For information- Comptroller DiNapoli states that Authorities create 94 percent of NYS debt for which citizens have no vote.

Robert C. Babbitt


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