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Local News -

October 17, 2012

City OKs ex-Bresee's tax break

ONEONTA — The Common Council gave green lights Tuesday night to a tax-abatement proposal for the redevelopment of the former Bresee’s store site and to a plan that adjusts ward lines in the city.

The next steps for each proposal will be separate public hearings yet to be scheduled, officials said.

At the meeting in City Hall, six of the eight Common Council members indicated they favored a proposed Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement between the Otsego County Industrial Development Agency and Klugo Oneonta. The 15-year schedule calls for 90 percent tax-abatement in the first year with 10 percent adjustments annually.

Carolyn Lewis, Otsego County economic developer and IDA administrator, told members that the IDA wanted the Council to be apprised of the PILOT before final steps were taken because of the significant contributions the city has made in the project, including work at the site, financial support and attracting a developer.

Mayor Dick Miller said the $6.2 million redevelopment of the former Bresee’s store building and property at 1 Dietz St. will be “an enormous, positive boost for downtown.’’ Klugo Oneonta plans to turn the buildings into commercial and residential space.

Council member Chip Holmes of the Eighth Ward said he wasn’t opposed to the concept of PILOTs but in this case considered the city’s support sufficient without tax abatement. Michael Lynch, council member from the Fourth Ward, said he didn’t support the PILOT agreement with Klugo Oneonta because the city already has “met its burden’’ and he questioned what the developer faced with economic hurdles.

Mayor Dick Miller said projections show red ink in the revenue column for the developer during the first four years.

Lewis said the PILOT is designed to help the developer with cash flow, not add to a retirement account. The IDA has taken into consideration the characteristics of the Oneonta market, she said, and the developers plan allows for occupancy fluctuations.

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