COUNTY OF SULLIVAN INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
One Cablevision Center
Ferndale, New York 12734
(845) 295-2603 – telephone
(845) 295-2604 – fax
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Steingart called to order the regular meeting of the County of Sullivan Industrial Development Agency at approximately 10:04 A.M., which was held in the Legislative Committee Room at the Sullivan County Government Center, Monticello, New York.
II. ROLL CALL
Members Present- Members Absent-
Ira Steingart None
Staff Present- Staff Absent-
Jennifer C.S. Brylinski, Exec. Director None
Jen Flad, VP Business Development
Allan C. Scott, ALSCO Management, Inc. /Consultant /IDA CEO
Walter F. Garigliano, Esq., Agency Legal Counsel
Barbara Garigliano, Garigliano Law Offices
Tara Lewis, Garigliano Law Offices
Jill Weyer, SC Planning & Environmental Management
Gene Benson, SC Legislature
Scott Samuelson, SC Legislature
Isaac Green Diebboll, Community Film Depot
Dan Hust, SC Democrat
Leonard Sparks, Times Herald-Record
Chairman Steingart informed the Board and the public that Mr. Gold and Mr. Alport have resigned from the IDA Board, effective at the end of 2013. He thanked them for their years of service, and noted that membership on the IDA Board is an honor as well as a great responsibility and a great deal of work. He applauded Mr. Gold’s and Mr. Alport’s dedication to the Board and their close attention to the IDA’s many projects. Mr. Barbuti added that both Mr. Gold and Mr. Alport embody many characteristics of active citizenship, public service and personal character. Mr. Gold replied that it has been his honor to serve on the Board and thanked the Board members, staff and counsel for their hard work. Mr. Alport reflected that the IDA has had a tremendous impact on preserving existing businesses and attracting new businesses, and enhancing Sullivan County’s overall economic health. He thanked the Board, staff, counsel and CEO for their work and encouraged the County Legislature to strongly support the work that the IDA does.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Ms. Loughlin made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 12, 2013 regular meeting. Mr. White seconded the motion, the Board voted and the motion was unanimously carried.
IV. BILLS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Barbuti made a motion to approve the revised schedule of payments, the motion was seconded by Mr. White, the Board voted and the motion was unanimously carried.
V. DIRECTORS’ REPORTS
Ms. Brylinski thanked Mr. Alport and Mr. Gold for their service to the IDA Board. She informed the Board that the IDA and Veria Lifestyle, Inc. closed on the Veria project late in November. Finally, she advised that the IDA is still waiting to hear whether its application for CFA funding for the food hub project will be funded, and stated that we expect to hear in December.
Allan C. Scott
Mr. Scott advised that he is continuing to work with school district representatives and project representatives regarding the sale of the Sullivan-West School District Building in the Town of Fremont. He continues to work with project and municipal officials regarding other current and prospective IDA projects. He added that he and Ms. Flad gave a presentation at a Town of Callicoon Town Board meeting on December 9th, and their presentation was well received. He and Ms. Flad plan to attend more Town Board meetings over the coming year, to continue this outreach effort. He noted that the public hearing for the Veria Lifestyle project was well attended and all comments received were supportive of the project. He stated that he plans to visit the Catskill Brewery (Theowins, LLC) tomorrow, December 11th, to check on their progress, and will report back to the Board next month. He closed by thanking Mr. Gold and Mr. Alport for their service on the Board.
VI. OLD BUSINESS
Mr. Steingart asked for a motion on the resolution approving fourth quarter payment to the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development. Ms. Loughlin disclosed that she serves on the Board of the Partnership. Mr. Rieber made a motion, which was seconded by Mr. White. The Board voted and the resolution was approved with Ms. Loughlin abstaining for the reason described above.
Ms. Brylinski stated that she had forwarded the Vodas LLC and Davos Resort USA LP project application to the Board members for their review. A public hearing has been scheduled for Monday, December 23rd at 10:00 am at the Town of Fallsburg Town Hall. She stated that she is waiting for the cost-benefit analysis, which will be forwarded to Board members as soon as it is received. Following the public hearing, there will be another Board meeting and a vote on a resolution to assist the project, which the IDA hopes to accomplish before the end of the year.
Ms. Shaddock inquired as to the short timeframe. Attorney Garigliano stated that the applicant has requested this timeframe, and if any members of the Board feel rushed, then the Board should proceed at its own pace. He added that this application is for infrastructure, including sewer and water infrastructure, road construction and road repairs only. No new development is proposed under this application. There was a discussion of the existing water and sewer infrastructure. Much of the project site is within an existing Town of Fallsburg water district, and the project sponsor proposes to construct water pipelines under proposed roads to new parts of the project. Some properties on the project site are tied in to existing sewer plants, while others are on individual septic systems. In part, the project would remedy problems with inadequate existing septic systems on small lots.
Ms. Shaddock expressed a concern that the IDA should not give benefits to the infrastructure project, if there is a risk that the entire resort development will not be built. Board members discussed this concern and whether infrastructure alone constitutes economic development. Attorney Garigliano stated that it is his understanding that as part of the EB-5 Program administered by US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the applicant must submit certain paperwork before the end of 2013. Chairman Steingart added that the Board should not act on any application if not all members are comfortable, but continued that no action is being taken today. He suggested that the members review the application, and that the applicant should present its project to the Board to answer any remaining questions.
Attorney Garigliano added that this project is complicated by several factors, including the EB-5 Program, and the applicant has been working for months to prepare the application. Chairman Steingart said that the applicant has been working for two years with the Town of Fallsburg Planning Board, and is now in the final stages of gaining planning board approval.
There was discussion of the specific benefits being applied for and the timing of the application. Under this application, the applicant seeks sales tax and mortgage tax abatements for infrastructure only. It was pointed out that there will be no sales tax abatement if the applicant does not undertake the infrastructure work, and that if the IDA issues a sales tax exemption letter, it will expire on a certain date, which gives the Board control over the amount of sales tax abatement granted. Attorney Garigliano stated that the Town of Fallsburg would like the applicant to undertake the infrastructure improvements soon, rather than waiting for approvals through the EB-5 Program to undertake the entire resort development project. For this reason, the applicant is approaching the IDA for infrastructure benefits only at this time, rather than waiting until they are ready to apply for benefits for the entire future development.
Members expressed that the public hearing date is inconvenient for members of the Board and community. Attorney Garigliano and Chairman Steingart noted that the public comments can be received and considered after the 23rd if necessary. This gives the Board the flexibility to receive all public input, get familiar with the project, and determine whether to work within the applicant’s requested timeframe.
Mr. Barbuti inquired whether this applicant is seeking an assurance that future changes in IDA policy will not impact their benefits, if the project is undertaken. Other recent applicants have sought and received this assurance from the IDA. Attorney Garigliano replied that he believes the applicant will request such an assurance. Some board members expressed that such an assurance is sensible. Mr. Rieber questioned whether the applicant needs a ten year assurance to construct one golf course and one hotel. It was determined that the Board can change the term of the assurance, depending on how long the Board feels the applicant needs.
There was more discussion of the economic development merit of the project, and the importance of the cost-benefit analysis, which must show that the benefits of the project exceed the costs. Mr. Rieber stated that the Board should always proceed with care when approving benefits for a project, because approvals set a precedent for future action.
Members discussed the importance of supporting new development projects, and how to give the applicant fair treatment while ensuring that Board members are comfortable that the project furthers the Agency’s mission. Chairman Steingart again suggested that the Board request a presentation from the applicant, to answer any remaining questions about the project, the Town’s involvement with respect to the sewer infrastructure, and the EB-5 program. The presentation will be scheduled for Wednesday, December 18th at noon, pending the availability of the applicant and representatives from the Town of Fallsburg.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
Ms. Brylinski advised that the Board members had received a memo listing the 2014 regular board meeting dates. Chairman Steingart asked for a motion to approve the meeting dates. Mr. Barbuti made a motion, which was seconded by Mr. White. The Board voted and the motion was unanimously approved.
Chairman Steingart asked if there was any public comment. Mr. Barbuti remembered Barbara Burton, a frequent attendee at IDA Board meetings, who passed away recently. With respect to IDA projects, Legislator Benson stated that each project should be evaluated on its own merits, and that he does not believe that assisting a project sets a precedent that the IDA must be bound by in the future. On a motion made by Mr. White, and seconded by Ms. Shaddock, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:09 am.
IDA VP, Business Development