Apartment Complex Buyer Wants 35 Year PILOT

The troubled Highland and Holland Garden Apartment complex in Amsterdam that I wrote about here is about to be sold.  Liberty Affordable Housing Inc., with a listed address as P.O. Box 549, Rome, New York 13442, is asking the City of Amsterdam for a 35 year payment in lieu of taxes.

Fourth Ward Alderman Dave Dybas has been less than honest with the public when he stated to Recorder reporter Jarrett Carroll;

“It’s truly, at least to my thinking, not a pilot.”

I don’t know that many people would agree with his thinking, since the document states that Liberty is asking for a 35 year PILOT. For that matter, the public should be able to read and make their own assessment of the facts and proposal submitted by Liberty.

The proposed PILOT agreement submitted by Liberty to the City of Amsterdam can be found here.

The current assessed value of both sections of the complex is $2, 409,800, it pays $182,036 annually in taxes, excluding water use fees.  The proposed agreement sets a base sum to be submitted to the City each year with a 2% increase annually. The proposed agreement is for a 100% exemption from City, School, County and State taxes for a 35 year period. It assures that the current assessment of the property will not be raised for 35 years, even if improvements are completed. It also assures that sewer use fees will remain the same for 35 years.

The agreement states that 109 of the apartments will be restricted Section 8 families and the rest restricted to low-income tenants described as those with incomes not to exceed 60% of the area median income.

I am not sure how the City can negotiate for the Greater Amsterdam School District, Montgomery County or the State as they are all separate taxing authorities or if accepting the PILOT agreement the City will be liable to pay the apartment complex’s share of those taxes.

I guess we will find out on May 8th, when the Common Council meets to discuss this PILOT agreement.  Let your Aldermen know how you feel about this 35 year PILOT agreement. Amsterdam Common Council phone numbers can be found here.  Email addresses as follows:

Mayor Ann Thane – athane@amsterdamny.gov

1st Ward Alderman Joe Isabel – jmisabel@verizon.net

2nd Ward Alderman Valerie Beekman – vbeekman@amsterdamny.gov

3rd Ward Alderman Gina DeRossi – gderossi@amsterdamny.gov

4th Ward Alderman Dave Dybas – ddybas@amsterdamny.gov

5th Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero –  rleggier@nycap.rr.com

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5 thoughts on “Apartment Complex Buyer Wants 35 Year PILOT

  1. diane

    It sure reads like a PILOT. They the owners call it a PILOT. But heck who am I?? Not all of the apts up there now are low income are they? Then this will make them all low income.

    • If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…it’s a duck!

      No, currently the complex is a mix and they charge full price for those not on public assistance. That will disappear with the new agreement.

      Does Amsterdam really need another low income only project? How about that 35 year agreement? How will that help the City?

  2. diane

    This city does not need any more low income projects. There is no reason why this could not be upgraded and improved with patios and enclosed fencing and new landscaping and come in with higher rents for those that would like a nice and decent place to live. It is going to be quite some time before there is a real turn around in the housing market and a nice upscale complex at this entrance to the city would flow nicely with the single family homes on Church St. coming into the city. It is a shame that the current owners had to siphon money off to take care of their personal projects at the expense of the whole city.

    I understand that they may be paying a flat fee tax now and that will need to be investigated, along with what they currently pay in water and sewer fees. Since they have central dumpsters then I would assume they pay no garbage fees.

  3. It’s difficult to wade through all the legalese, does is say somewhere what that flat fee will be? 186K is a lot to lose.

    I wonder what leverage Liberty has to get this proposal accepted? I wonder if it’s a case of a “too big to fail” situation ie – if the sale doesn’t go through, the current owners go bankrupt, and the whole complex gets shut down.

    • It doesn’t really say outright what that base payment will be. Instead it gives an example of $182,036 (the current tax) as the base payment. The contract also indicates the base pay will be adjusted the year after the City issues a completion certificate for work done (anticipated as 2014) . This operating cost adjustment factor is stated to be issued by HUD each calendar year and will be added to the base payment. The example given for the OCAF is 2%. It is not stated how this factor is calculated or whether it can be a negative number or not. The other unknown is the sewer tax rate which is included in the PILOT payment and will not increase for 35 years.

      I’m sure you are correct in assuming Liberty has all the leverage, but what are the alternatives? Are there other offers? If the current owner goes bankrupt, will the property go to a mortgage company and eventually be owned by the City?

      I have family and friends that live in the complex and I lived there for six years before buying my house. I would not want to see the complex go 100% subsidized low income and section 8 housing.

      I don’t fully understand the proposal and I ‘m sure the council members have questions, but to keep this a big secret does little to help people understand just what their options are. One Council member even denied the existance of the proposal when asked by a constituent. This incident and the recent article in the Recorder describing an insurance meeting held by democratic elected officials without notifying the Republican insurance committee chairman, leads me to believe the Mayor’s effort to establish a bipartisan working relationship has failed.

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