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Thursday, August 12, 2010

IDA approves Parking Garage deal

The Industrial Development Authority voted this morning to approve an agreement with Uncle Sam Garages, LLC, a.k.a. Dave Bryce, for the sale of the Uncle Sam Parking Garage, according to IDA CEO Sondra Little.

The agreement includes the following:

Mortgage recording tax exemption - $32,000
Sales and use tax exemptions - $64,000
20-year Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes savings - $399,630

Total estimated financial assistance: $495,630

In exchange, Bryce will operate the facility and agree to make investments to the garage -- most notably the addition of a third parking deck -- totaling over $1.1 million. The creation of one new job is anticipated, with the creation of additional construction jobs also possible.

Because there were a few questions, here are some clarifications from today's article:

Bryce applied with the IDA to seek financial assistance, including the PILOT program. The original application sought $1.65 million payments, but the IDA upped it to $1.75 million.

Business Improvement District and Library taxes are considered special assessment taxes, and were not included in the deal. Little said that when the IDA receives payment from Bryce, it turns around and pays the city, school district and county taxes.

A copy of the contract that was signed by both Bryce and the city was submitted as part of the agenda at the IDA's June meeting. The city declined to comment on the agreement, but it appears that the contract was used as the framework for the purchase of the garage. Because the deal is going through the IDA, however, the IDA will actually own the garage and lease it out to Bryce, who will then have the option to purchase it after the lease agreement ends (presumably 20 years).

The process of Bryce's deal with the IDA was criticized as being "secretive" by some. An article appeared in the June 26 issue of the Record about the approval of a preliminary agreement with Bryce, and a notice of the public hearing appeared in the legal notices of the July 8 issue, so it appears that the IDA followed the proper posting times and notice requirements.

Some Council members weighed in on the IDA deal over the past few days via e-mail.

Mark McGrath, R-District 2: "This was not a secret as I've brought it up at meetings only to be stonewalled by my colleagues. Go back to the Record story and you'll read where I identified this deal as a shell game, but of course some of your illustrious councilmen wouldn't practice deception now would they?"

Bill Dunne, D-District 4: Just when I start to like you, you say something dumb. I know your getting older, but your memory can't be that bad, can it? Mark, you were one of eight "yes" votes to sell the garage. If you feared this possibility, you should have noted "no".

Selling the garage made eminent sense. It needs repairs we can't afford, we need money to meet grant obligations to redevelop our waterfront - far more valuable than retaining the parking garage. Finally, Mr. Bryce has control of the garage until 2021, should he choose. We would continue to receive virtually the same token payment from Mr. Bryce until that point - not the "cash cow" Jack Cox, Jr. so wrongly claim it was at the June council meeting.

Try looking at it this way. Instead of losing a parking garage, we are gaining (ultimately) a much improved waterfront - one that will provide an improved venue for events like Pig Out, Riverfest, etc. and once the redevelopment RFPs are issued and returned, it can become tax generating property. Do I wish we never granted PILOTs to anyone? Of course, but by the same token, the folks we do grant them to get them because they are investing millions in our city. In fact, I recall you defending the money given to Dinosaur BBQ during the last council meeting. PILOTs are a necessary evil.

Mark McGrath:
Bill, I'm flattered that you started to like me, but the fact remains the original deal was that Bryce couldn't supplement the sale with other governmental funds and it's in the contract. You and I were both for selling it from the start and I'm confident it was the right decision. It was the charade played by your colleagues after publicly being vilified for playing politics by the media that led this up to the IDA funding. I'm still satisfied that the property is in negotiation to be sold, but to crow to the taxpayers that "we"ve save you money" [sic] only to be supplemented with other taxpayer dollars is deceptive. At the end of the day, the garage should be sold, and the original deal was the best for the taxpayers. I guess we"ll see when the numbers play out. Thanks.

A copy of Bryce's application, an agenda from the public hearing and a draft of the PILOT schedule is available through the IDA.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's obvious Councilman Mark McGrath has no idea what he's talking about. The more he talks the more he shows his lack of intelligence.

August 13, 2010 at 9:34 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's just refresh everyone's memory and then we can point to who doesn't know what they are talking about.

In chronological order:

1. The Democrats who refused to vote yes on the original sale of the garage - Campana, Kevin McGrath, LoPorto, and Gadumski, did so citing things such as having an aversion to 'selling city assets'. The vote went down as I believe it needed a super majority to pass (or I'm forgetting another 'no' vote). Bryce threatened to remove all of his business from Troy.

2. About a month later, Kevin McGrath sent out a press release that he had alone had sat back down at the table with Bryce and singlehandedly secured an additional $300,000 on the sale, with Bryce now agreeing to pay 2.4 million as opposed to the original 2.1 million.

3. Kevin McGrath and other Democrats stonewall in the next couple of months when the Republicans ask to have the sale of the garage put back on the agenda.

4. Fast forward to present - People begin to slowly become aware that part of that 'brilliant' deal secured by Kevin McGrath included 20 years of significant tax breaks through the IDA (while the rest of Troy properties are being reassessed), in exchange for the extra $300,000 we get now. Not looking like such a good deal now, is it? And was there any mention of that in Kevin McGrath's shamelessly self-promoting press release?

So - I would ask that you rethink which Councilmen a) don't know what they are talking about, and b) regularly show their utter lack of intelligence. BUT - from the complete ignorance of your first post, it would be a complete waste of time. I just love folks who make up their mind about something based on anything BUT the facts. And, when those pesky facts do get in the way, they just dig in further. Interesting way to wander through life.

August 24, 2010 at 10:48 PM 

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