Care center LDC talks PILOT agreement

By LIAM MAYO
Posted 2/22/22

MONTICELLO, NY — The taxable status of the Care Center at Sunset Lake has been a thorn in the county’s side for some time.

The county transferred the deed to its adult care center in …

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Care center LDC talks PILOT agreement

Posted

MONTICELLO, NY — The taxable status of the Care Center at Sunset Lake has been a thorn in the county’s side for some time.

The county transferred the deed to its adult care center in December 2020 to the Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation (LDC), a private nonprofit entity founded by the county to find a consultant to manage the facility. Infinite Care was the consultant chosen.

The county and the Town of Liberty have gone back and forth over the facility’s taxable status ever since. The care center facility is located in Liberty, and since the transfer, the town maintains that the property is taxable. The county and the LDC have maintained that the property should not be taxed, and appear prepared to litigate the question.

With that dispute ongoing, the LDC made an application to the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to participate in a program for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT).

IDA counsel Walter Garigliano explained the agreement at the IDA’s February 14 meeting, saying it was a way of negating and putting to bed any impact from the dispute over the care center’s taxable status.

Under the PILOT agreement, the LDC would lease an interest in the care center to the IDA, who would then lease it back to the LDC. Now with an interest in the property, the IDA would make provisions for the LDC to pay a fixed amount in lieu of taxes, set at $350,000 initially and increasing by two percent every year after that for the next 20 years.

The IDA’s intervention would make the situation less risky for the facility’s operator and for its taxing jurisdictions, according to Garigliano. The facility operator would pay a set amount in PILOT payments regardless of the outcome of any lawsuit between the county and Liberty, removing a source of uncertainty about the facility’s future.

At present, Sullivan County is acting as the licensed operator of the care center, and will make the PILOT payments. Once Infinite Care acquires the Certificate of Need it requires to operate the facility, it will become the licensed operator and will make its PILOT payments going forward.

The plan is not without its detractors. The IDA received a letter from the Liberty Central School District—one of the facility’s taxing jurisdictions—objecting to the proposed PILOT agreement. The notice of the agreement was supposed to explain how it would benefit the community, stated the letter; “Other than describing the settlement of the dispute, no benefit to the community or the school district is provided.”

The PILOT application states the benefits of the project as the retention of the facility’s approximately 150 jobs, with approximately $9 million in annual salary payroll, and states that “The agency’s financial assistance [in the form of the PILOT agreement] will induce Infinite Care to provide $3,000,000 in improvements to the facility.”

Area resident Lou Setren, in public comment, addressed that point at the LDC’s meeting on February 17, saying that the consulting agreement signed by Infinite Care already requires the company to invest $3 million in improvements; “There is no need to offer inducements from anyone in order to have Infinite Care provide those investments.”

Both the LDC and the IDA approved the agreement at their respective meetings.

For more information, see the articles below:

Infinite preference

The truth in the story

Care center contract soon to be signed

Care center taxation challenged

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