Monday, October 01, 2007

OC Subsidizing Sprawl in NH . . .

It's bad enough when New Hartford permits its (formerly) quiet suburban residential/agricultural character to be transformed into what is indistinguishable from central Long Island (without the nearby beaches). It's worse when Oneida County subsidizes it. . . but that's the story today in the OD: Office park coming to N. Hartford.
The Hartford, which has 689 employees, is part of The Hartford Financial Services Group, which is based in Hartford, Conn. . . .

The Oneida County Industrial Development Agency’s board of directors Thursday granted preliminary approval of a tax relief package for the project.

The development agency approved a 10-year payment in lieu of taxes program, or PILOT, that will allow one-third of the property taxes to be paid for the first five years and two-thirds to be paid for the remaining five years.

The agency also granted a sales tax exemption, on construction materials and equipment, that is valued at an estimated $700,000.

The tax relief package is tied to the company maintaining 689 jobs for the 10-year period.

“The finance, insurance, real estate cluster is one that we want to see growth opportunities for,” said Papale, who said The Hartford is one of the area’s biggest companies in terms of pay and employees. The average salary at the company is in the mid-$40,000s, she said.

So let's see. We're giving tax breaks to:
  1. Maintain jobs that are already here (i.e. no growth)
  2. Create a new area that will need to be policed
  3. Create a new area that will need water and sewer services (likely overloading the Sauquoit Creek pump station even more)
  4. Create a new area that will need storm water control
  5. Create a new area that will require another traffic light on 840 (if the developers get their way) and likely will require more road construction/expansion.
  6. Cause vacancies in other buildings in NH
  7. Further degrade the quality of life in NH -- at least for the people in that vicinity who probably don't matter to the Town Fathers because they are not wealthy or they live in adjoining Whitestown.
Doesn't sound like such a good deal to me. Unless you are the developer . . . or are the Hartford and get new digs subsidized by the taxpayer.

If the OCIDA wants to give tax breaks, it should be giving them to encourage companies to locate on former "brownfields" (if I can use that term broadly to mean any formerly developed area that has either been abandoned or is now underutilized) where the infrastructure and services are already in place.

But OCIDA is not responsible for providing all the public services and support that this development will need. It is only interested in providing "growth" opportunities for certain "clusters" of businesses.

OCIDA's actions are myopic - a product of the ridiculous way local government has been subdivided into uncoordinated separate agencies and municipalities.

Perhaps if the functions of OCIDA related to the Greater Utica area were transferred to a Municipality of Greater Utica, we would see decisions made that would create opportunities for everyone, including the residents who are paying the bills.
A public hearing on the tax relief program will be at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at the New Hartford Community Center on Kellogg Road. The development agency is scheduled to vote on final approval Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Of course they schedule the hearing for during the day when people have to be at work . . . gotta work to pay for all this development y'a know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who is bullsh**ting whom? The AVERAGE salary is $40,000? Try $27,000, if you are lucky!

Once again, we have OCIDA handing out FREEBIES at taxpayer expense.