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Timing and Perception are everything when it comes to being transparent and open in government!

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Timing and Perception are everything when it comes to being transparent and open in government!

May 29, 2013 - 19:16

Several projects are to receive low-cost and tax-exempt financing through Westchester County's Local Development Corporation to help for a continuing care facility, expansion of a surgical suite, renovation and equipping of an approximately 20,000 square-foot surgical suite and then a college gets refinancing for residences that it recently purchased. Only in New Rochelle can we finance the purchase of property not on the tax role with no befit to The City of New Rochelle or Westchester County.

New Rochelle Local Development Corporation sends out NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING for a request to issue approximately $5,000,000 of its tax-exempt revenue bonds for which proceeds will go to Iona College to help it pay down existing debt on faculty residences that it recently purchased from The Christian Brothers Institute?

Something just doesn't sound right here. An article appeared on May 7th on New Rochelle Patch about Iona College Receiving County Development Financing Loan, but a Public Hearing Notice is only sent out two days before the meeting on May 30th which is scheduled at 5:30 on a Thursday of a short week?

When did they release the notice? The date of the notice is not on the document. I just got it yesterday by New Rochelle E-Mail Notice System on 5/28/2013, Two days’ notice of a public hearing?

Here is the article from New Rochelle NRPatch:

Iona College Receives County Development Financing
Posted by Michael Woyton (Editor), May 7, 2013
http://newrochelle.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/iona-colleg...

Iona College is one of four nonprofit organizations that were first to receive low-cost and tax-exempt financing through Westchester County's Local Development Corporation.

Through the LDC, nonprofits can get access to tax-exempt bonds to help pay for their projects or to refinance. There is no financial risk to the county, officials said, and the obligation for paying back the debt is solely the responsibility of the nonprofits.

County Executive Robert Astorino said the Local Development Corporation, which he established in January 2012, can save the organizations a great deal of money with no risk and no cost to the taxpayers.

"By any measure, this is a win-win for Westchester and judging by the four projects approved (Tuesday), there is a great and growing demand for this tremendous resource," he said.

The four projects are:
• Iona College, New Rochelle—$5 million in low-cost financing to pay down existing debt that was used for the acquisition and improvements to five faculty residences.

• Kendal on Hudson, Sleepy Hollow—$64,330,000 to refinance existing debt of the continuing care facility and use some of the savings to make capital improvements, saving the facility $100,000 annually for 30 years.
• Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco—$43 millon in low-cost financing to design, construct and equip the expansion of a surgical suite.
• Phelps Memorial Hospital, Sleepy Hollow—$16 million in low-cost financing for the construction, renovation and equipping of an approximately 20,000 square-foot surgical suite and the acquisition, construction and equipping of 200-foot-long corridor bridge.

Astorino established the LDC to fill a void that existed since 2008 when the state's Industrial Development Agencies lost the power to authorize bonds on behalf of nonprofit organizations.
The financing for the four projects was approved about 13 hours after the county's Board of Legislators ratified, by a 16-1 vote, Astorino's creation of the LDC.

"The LDC provies a way to preserve and expand services without any financial obligation to county taxpayers," said Stephen Hunt, chairman of the LDC. "As a lifelong resident of Westchester County I am proud to be part of such a valuable financial tool to help strengthen our community."

Now another issue is that the IDA holds a Public Hearing at the same date and time for another IDA meeting open to the public. Here is the notice with the agenda for the meeting of the New Rochelle Corporation for Local Development:

Notice received from New Rochelle IDA by New Rochelle E-Mail Notice System on 5/28/2013 with the agenda.

New Event New Rochelle Corporation for Local Development For www.newrochelleny.com

The New Rochelle Local Development Corporation will hold a Public Hearing this Thursday, May 30, 3013, at 5:30 pm at Room B-1, City Hall, 515 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY, in connection with a proposal to float $5 million in tax-exempt bonds.

AGENDA
*A Public Hearing in connection with Iona College Faculty Residences will be held
First.
1. Roll Call/Announcements
2. By-Laws & Policies
3. Iona College - Tax-exempt bond financing to pay down existing debt on faculty
residences –
Inducement
4. Adjournment

______________________________
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
______________________________

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a public hearing pursuant to Section 147(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”) and Article 18-A of the New York State General Municipal Law will be held by the New Rochelle Corporation for Local Development (the “Issuer”) on the 30th day of May, 2013, at 5:30 p.m., local time, at Room B-1, City Hall, 515 North Avenue, New Rochelle, New York in connection with a proposed project (the “Project”) consisting of the Issuer providing financial assistance to Iona College, a not-for-profit educational institution exempt from federal taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “College”):
The Issuer has been requested to issue approximately $5,000,000 of its tax-exempt revenue bonds (the “Bonds”), the proceeds of which will be used by the College to reimburse itself for the acquisition of the following parcels of real property: (i) 29 Montgomery Place, New Rochelle, New York 10801; (ii) 53 Montgomery Place, New Rochelle, New York 10801; (iii) 33 Beechmont Drive, New Rochelle, New York 10801; (iv) 71 Beechmont Drive, New Rochelle, New York 10801; (v) 33 Pryor Terrace, New Rochelle, New York 10801; and (vi) 21 Pryor Terrace, New Rochelle, New York 10801 (collectively, the “Parcels”). The Parcels contain five (5) residences which the College is leasing to The Christian Brothers’ Institute, a New York not-for-profit corporation, for residential use by faculty and retired faculty of the College.
The proceeds of the Bonds will be loaned by the Issuer to the College pursuant to the terms of a Loan Agreement between the Issuer and the College to pay the costs of the Project. The Bonds will be a special obligation of the Issuer payable solely from loan payments made by the College to the Issuer pursuant to the Loan Agreement. The Bonds shall not be a debt of the State of New York or any political subdivision thereof, including the County of Westchester and the City of New Rochelle, and neither the State of New York nor any political subdivision thereof, including the County of Westchester and the City of New Rochelle, shall be liable thereon.

A representative of the Issuer will, at the above-stated time and place, hear and accept written comments from all persons with views in favor of or opposed to either the issuance of the Bonds by the Issuer. At the hearing, all persons will have the opportunity to review the application for financial assistance filed by the College with the Issuer, and an analysis of the costs and benefits of the proposed Project.

Minutes of the hearing will be made available to the Applicable Elected Representative of the City of New Rochelle. Approval of the issuance of the Bonds by the City of New Rochelle, through the applicable Elected Representative of the City of New Rochelle, is necessary in order for the interest on the Bonds to be excluded from gross income for federal income tax purposes.

NEW ROCHELLE CORPORATION
FOR LOCAL DEVELOPMENT
By: Marianne L. Sussman
Title: Chairperson

Iona College recently bought these properties from The Institute and is apparently leasing them back to The Institute for residential use by faculty and retired faculty of the College. These parcels were NOT on the tax rolls when owned by the Christian Brothers and they will be kept off the tax rolls as property of Iona College. Is this how New Rochelle's borrowing authority should be used?

The problem is not necessarily with Iona College. They have a business to run like everyone else. The problem is that once again we see the process followed by The City of New Rochelle is flawed and raises question as to the intent of the proposals before the IDA and its Local Development Corporation. Where is the transparency of information to the Citizens of New Rochelle?

“Common Sense for the Common Good”.