Ulster County Executive Won’t Accept Romeo Kia Tax Breaks – Daily Freeman
KINGSTON, NY – Ulster County Manager Pat Ryan said Thursday he would not approve tax breaks for the Romeo Kia showroom and the car dealership has promised to file a non-compliance complaint county rules.
Ryan said in a telephone interview that the County Industrial Development Agency misapplied the rules on tax breaks for economically disadvantaged areas.
âIronically, this project moves the Romeo Kia from a more troubled location to a less troubled location, which is the opposite of the exemption under New York State law,â Ryan said.
On May 19, members of the agency’s board of directors approved tax breaks of $ 1.17 million over 15 years related to the construction of a 20,000 square foot showroom by 4.7 acres at 1670 Ulster Ave. in the city of Ulster. However, the project could not begin until two eaglets flew from a nest on the property and the concessionaire learned on August 12 that it had to be completed with the noisy portion of the project by December 31. , when the bald eagle’s next breeding season begins. .
Ryan has delayed announcing his opposition to tax breaks since May and has waited a month longer than Romeo Kia’s approval after the Eaglets left.
âThe way the process (works) as I participated in itâ¦
âAt the end of my good faith letter, this suggests that we are happy to meet with them at our economic development office to help them out on any other ways we can help,â Ryan said. âIt’s a great local business, it’s exciting that they want to grow, they’re doing well enough to be able to grow. I just think we need to draw a clear line of the proper use of taxpayer dollars to fund this kind of expansion. “
Ryan noted that he used the agency’s cost-benefit analysis to decide whether to reject the tax breaks.
“I just received a copy the other day, which took into account my final decision on the Romeo Kia project,” he said. âIt’s a combination of information from IDA, our team’s analysis, and heavily informed by public feedback. “
Romeo Kia attorney Lucia Romeo said Ryan’s decision demonstrates that following the rules and making efforts to comply with the terms of approval is always subject to the political whims of the county government.
“He doesn’t think we should qualify for a (payment in lieu of tax) agreement, and if that’s his opinion, he’s entitled to his opinion,” she said. “However, the way this should be dealt with is legislative and if he has a problem with that, he shouldâ¦ discuss it with the state that has designated this area as an economically troubled area.”
Romeo added that Ryan, who knew the dealership had an expiring lease on its current Schwenk Drive exhibition and service center, had four months to file objections, but chose to put the company at risk.
“He won’t even give me the courtesy of a phone call or direct correspondence,” she said. “Instead, he asked the county attorney to say ‘stop barking that tree.'”
The agency’s chief executive, Rose Woodworth, said the agency had reviewed the laws governing the terms of the tax breaks and could not overturn Ryan’s decision.
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