Albany Convention Center Authority and PILOT
March 31, 2010
Hon. Neil D. Breslin
New York State Senate
Hon. Ron Canestrari
Assembly Majority Leader
Hon. John J. McEneny
New York State Assembly
The Albany Convention Center Authority (ACCA) recently announced its intention to purchase 37 parcels in downtown Albany. These taxable parcels are both on the site of the proposed State convention center and adjacent to the site. In addition to these privately owned parcels, the ACCA has already purchased the bus terminal property, which was also taxable real property.
The 37 parcels to be purchased by the ACCA are assessed at a combined total amount of $9,329,800.00 and pay school taxes of $246,400.00 and city/county property taxes of $149,090.00. The bus terminal property is assessed at $933,200.00 and pay school taxes of $24,646.00 and city/county property taxes of $14,913.00. (Note: This information was supplied by City Assessor Keith McDonald at my request.)
The use of public money by the ACCA to purchase privately owned taxable property and remove that property from the tax rolls is cause for concern. One governmental entity should not gain at the expense of the taxpayers of the city, county, and school district of Albany. In this time of economic distress, and with all three municipal taxing jurisdictions facing huge deficits, it is inconceivable that taxable real property be removed from the tax rolls, with public money, without a concurrent PILOT agreement in place to keep the local taxing districts from losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue.
I have two suggestions to alleviate the fiscal burden the ACCA’s purchase of privately held taxable real property will place on the City of Albany, County of Albany, and City School District of the City of Albany:
1. Require a PILOT agreement between the ACCA and each of the three taxing jurisdictions adversely affected by the ACCA’s acquisition of taxable property to yearly pay to each jurisdiction the 2010 tax levy amount over the course of the ownership of the property by the ACCA; or
2. Increase the Public Lands Law Article 19-A payments to the City of Albany to reflect the loss tax revenue to the City and to require PILOT agreements between the ACCA and the County of Albany and the City School District of the City of Albany.
I am not opposed to the ACCA purchasing the many different parcels of property and consolidating the ownership under one entity. However, I am very concerned that the removal of privately owned taxable property from the tax rolls with public money will have a deleterious affect on local municipal budgets. PILOT agreements between the ACCA and the City of Albany, County of Albany, and City School District of the City of Albany must be made a requirement for any and all privately owned real property being removed from the tax rolls by the ACCA.
Please investigate if there is a way to legislate a PILOT agreement requirement by amending the Public Authorities Law that established the ACCA or through a special act.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Common Council Member – First Ward
CC: Duncan Stewart, ACCA
Michael Breslin, County Executive
Gerald D. Jennings, Mayor
Raymond Colucciello, Superintendent of Schools