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.
That’s why New Rochelle is faced with police, fire & DPW terminations as well as service reductions in the upcoming 2012 budget. The City will go hat-in-hand to the non-profits while ignoring multi-million dollar conglomerates and their tenants with disposable income who pay $0 in school taxes while adding 108 students to an already overburdened school district.
The City justifies the voluntary public service fee citing Calls For Service (CFS) from police and fire. This is deja vu to TOTS readers in that 18-months ago I posted an article using that exact premise to debunk Mayor Bramson’s claim of a $7.5 million net benefit from downtown development. My research identified 974 police & fire CFS from the Avalons in 2010;
While I have supported a public service fee for non-profits it is hypocritical that the city is targeting non-profits while allowing multi-million dollar corporations to get off scot-free. The Avalons should be charged double the CFS fee requested of non-profits and pay the associated costs of educating their enrolled students. The fee should also have an annual Consumer Price Index or Cost of Living increase; whichever is greater, moving forward.
The current and past administration is responsible for New Rochelle’s dire state in that they repeatedly changed the zoning code to allow non-profits to expand. This was a double whammy in that not only were taxable properties removed from the tax roll the larger number of students and staff demanded more city services (police, fire, DPW and ambulance responses). Adding insult to injury, these administrations doled out tax abatements to wealthy developers and corporations that will handcuff our grandchildren for the next 20+ years.
Home Depot - 10-Year Tax Abatement
Costco - 10-Year Tax Abatement
New Roc City - 15-Year Tax Abatement
The Avalons - 30-Year Tax Abatement
So the next time you here the Mayor, City Manager or their “independent” auditor state that New Rochelle’s conditions are not unique don’t believe it. If by chance you are naive enough to believe it have the guts to ask what other community doled out 55-years of tax abatements, which ran concurrently at one point, in less then 20-years.
The current and previous administration has recommended reassessment on a countywide level for two reasons. First the costs will be lower and second, everyone needs to pay their “fair share”. Reassessment does not raise $1 in extra property tax so reassessment should not be considered until the last of the freeloaders above are paying their “fair share”!