Avalon & Hartz Mountain

New Rochelle City Council Embraces Republican Ideas on Voluntarily PILOTs for Non-Profits

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The New Rochelle City Council will discuss requesting a voluntary Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) from non-profit institutions at the next council meeting. These include; Sound Shore Medical Center, Iona (Preparatory, Grammar & College), College of New Rochelle and the Ursuline, Salesian & Thornton Donovan schools. While a voluntary public service fee for non-profits has been recommended for over a decade the 800-pound Gorilla in the room remains unscathed…. AVALON. Last year, 115 students were registered from Avalon 1 (255 Huguenot)  & Avalon East (40Memorial Highway). These students cost New Rochelle Taxpayers $2.3 million to educate last year. This year, the Avalons have once again exceeded the 58 students calculated in the Final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS) by 86% enrolling 108 students costing taxpayers $2.16 million. When combined with what the Avalons would pay in school taxes at 100% taxation ($7,728,762.14) the burden to New Rochelle taxpayers is almost $10 million.

A Ruinous Mystification: On Downtown Development, the New Rochelle IDA and 19th Century French Philosophers

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FredericBastiat.jpgThe purpose of this article is not to say that there have been no benefits whatsoever to the development of New Roc City, Trump Plaza or the Avalons and other projects. There have been some benefits.

The purpose of this article is to give critics of the Idoni-Bramson vision for New Rochelle a language with which to articulate their opposition to specific completed projects, a reason to celebrate the demise of LeCount Square and the apparent demise of the Echo Bay Project and a basis upon which to demand a true, full cost-benefit analysis of imagined future projects like the Main Street Corridor and David's Island. It is not to be "against virtually everything" to demand that any proposed tax-payer funded government intervention in our local economy is made to consider the "unseen" costs of the projects, the possible unintended consequences of a project and be based upon an independent, verifiable cost-benefit analysis that is then used as a benchmark to check and recheck progress on a particular project at each phase in the development.

Talk of the Sound asks what a 19th century French economist and political philosopher can teach us today about men like Noam Bramson, Tim Idoni, Louis Capppelli and the Ratner Family.

New Rochelle IDA Executive Director Schulman Removed in Wake of Daming Comptroller Audit of City Agency

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NRIDA June 2010.jpgJeremy Schulman has been removed from his role managing the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency and replaced by Development Commissioner Michael Freimuth in the wake of a damning audit by the Office of State Comptroller which found that NRIDA failed to evaluate and monitor tens of millions dollars in tax breaks given to developers.

In a thinly-veiled attempt at damage control, Michael Freimuth (above left) asked Chuck Strome (above center) and the IDA Board to pass a resolution creating a new position of Assistant to the Secretary of the Board then asked the board to appoint him to that newly created position so he could have legal access to NRIDA documents while avoiding the necessity of formally taking away and assuming Schulman's title of Executive Director.

ODD CHOICE: Mayor Excuses IDA Audit by Comparing New Rochelle to Yonkers Where DOJ Investigates Bramson-Linked Developer

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Mayor.gifDuring his radio show on Tuesday, Mayor Noam Bramson commented publicly for the first time on the findings of the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) Audit of the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency, first reported by Talk of the Sound.

To listen you can download the 3 minute audio file here (3.7 MB .mp3 file)

The Mayor said the OSC issues audits like this for IDA's all the time. He said they are often quite similar in their content and cited a "recent or contemporaneous" audit of the Yonkers IDA that had many of the same conclusions.

A check of the OSC web site shows there is no such recent audit of the Yonkers IDA.

The most recent audit of the Yonkers IDA was made public on February 23, 2009.

TALK OF THE SOUND EXCLUSIVE: New York State Comptroller Rips New Rochelle IDA in Audit Due Out Next Month

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Thomas DiNapoli New York State Comptroller.jpgTalk of the Sound has obtained a copy of an IDA Audit Report of the New Rochelle IDA (NRIDA) which is expected to be released by the Office of the New York State Comptroller (OSC) next month. The document is meant to be public, has been circulated within City Hall but is not on the agenda for the IDA meeting scheduled tomorrow. A brief review of the summary shows why the IDA would prefer to kick the report down the road into the summer months when they hope less people will notice -- it is a devastating report which confirms what many critics have long contended about an IDA with no defined process for approving projects, no effort to monitor ongoing projects and a generally sloppy, make-it-up-as-you-go approach while doling out tens of millions of dollars in bonds, tax incentives and other goodies to politically-connected developers with no particular concern over whether the projects deliver upon promised results.

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