Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency started the process to having more property tax break powers.
A committee of the board recommended changing the agencys universal tax exempt policy, which governs how JCIDA implements payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements, so that rental housing projects would be included. The change would increase the standard term for housing and manufacturing PILOTs to up to 20 years. And PILOTs with a standard pro rata distribution will no longer give affected taxing jurisdictions the ability to opt out.
At the end of the day, you can always say these are not for the greater good, CEO Donald C. Alexander said Friday morning at the meeting. The policy originally had more latitude for discussing project-specific entities. Then wind came up and we restricted ourselves more.
In November 2010, the board agreed to some changes to the policy that included a requirement to have all PILOTs approved by all taxing jurisdictions, with the sole exception of a standard PILOT of 15 years or less for a manufacturing project.
On Thursday, JCIDA board members agreed they needed more leverage in negotiating PILOTs for housing. The parties have tentatively reached an agreement with COR Development Co., Fayetteville, for its 305-unit project off Route 3 in the town of Watertown. But Mr. Alexander said the negotiations with Morgan Management Co., Pittsford, and other housing developers will only become more difficult.
Im already getting reactions from the taxing jurisdictions, he said. They will complain publicly, but when they talk individually, they want to see it because it takes the pressure off them.
Committee member Michelle D. Pfaff asked what other industrial development agencies do. Attorney Joseph W. Russell said that others more closely follow what is allowed in state law.
You can change your policy so that you can set forward the reason and notify the taxing jurisdiction, but it doesnt require consent unless the distribution is not on a pro rata basis, Mr. Russell said.
The committee agreed with suggestions from Mr. Alexander that allowable PILOTs under the policy last as long as 20 years with up to 75 percent exemption.
We do need some controls in here so that we cant impose whatever PILOT we want, Mrs. Pfaff said.
The committee also agreed to require a supermajority of the JCIDA board when taxing jurisdictions do not agree to a PILOT.
Committee member Urban C. Hirschey said the policy should say either consent of the taxing jurisdictions or votes of five out of the seven members of the board.
The committee members agreed to the concept.