Dominick Calsolaro

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Calsolaro calls for PILOT on convention center lands

Published on 3/31/2010 by the Times Union written by by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist

We reported last week that Albany Common Councilman Dominick Calsolaro wants the Albany Convention Center Authority to pay the city for taxes lost on about three acres of private land the authority is in the process of acquiring.

Well, today, Calsolaro dispatched this letter to Assemblymen Jack McEneny and Ron Canestrari and state Sen. Neil Breslin calling on the trio to help amend the state’s public authorities law to require the convention authority to pay the city, county and school district for lost tax revenue.

Or, Calsolaro says, the state should increase its annual assistance to the city under the public lands law — known as 19a money — to make up for the loss of tax revenue.

Calsolaro says the 37 parcels the authority is going to purchase from City Square Associates are assessed at more than $9.3 million and pay nearly $250,000 annually in taxes to the city school district and another nearly $150,000 to the city and county.

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.

Calsolaro, who has been a strident critic of the convention center project, is not — incidentally — opposed to the authority assembling this land. He’s said before that even if the convention center is never built, assembling the land under one umbrella will help market it to a private (taxpaying…) developer.