Skoufis rejects ‘scandalous’ 12-year PILOT request for Newburgh hotel project

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NEWBURGH – State Senator James Skoufis (D, Cornwall) has slammed the Foster Hospitality Group’s 12-year payment in lieu of tax proposal to develop three buildings on Grand Street in the town of Newburgh into a destination location touristic.

The senator said in a public hearing hosted by the Newburgh Industrial Development Agency on Thursday that the project was good. “But the generosity of the tax breaks sought – a reduction of 90% for the first six years of operation, followed by an additional six years of allowances – is scandalous.”

Skoufis said the developer “has already saved $ 2.3 million when he struck a deal on the purchase of the Orange County building. They also have a request for a $ 2.5 million grant. dollars on hold via the Consolidated State Funding Application. And on top of all that, they could easily file a full 485-B application worth over $ 2 million in additional grants. for Foster Supply Hospitality, they want to milk taxpayers even more. ”

But, he said, the Foster Hospitality project would be a victory for Newburgh “and I’m not against reasonable incentive. But a 12-year PILOT deal in addition to millions of dollars in other county and state grants is road theft. “

The lawmaker also criticized Orange County Partnership Chair Maureen Halahan for comments in favor of the project. “(She) could hardly hide her deep loathing for Newburgh. For someone in her position, who is responsible for promoting and attracting new business to the extraordinary towns and villages of this county, her belief that Newburgh is a lair of drug addicted criminals plagued by vice that only begs the interest of developers is disgusting, offensive and flat – that is wrong. “

Skoufis said that “Halahan’s comment that Newburgh is a ‘city in ruins’ – when in fact it is undergoing significant revitalization – is not only heinous, but factually false. Ms Hallahan owes the Town of Newburgh a public apology.

The senator said real estate values ​​were strong and businesses were coming to the city. “Untold development is happening right in front of us without PILOT requests,” he said. “We are not begging for developers. But we are begging the organizations, namely the Newburgh IDA, which is responsible for attracting and incentivizing business, to do so in good faith, while putting the needs of taxpayers first.

The IDA Board of Directors took no action on the proposal following the public hearing.

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