By Roberto LoBianco
A $56 million, 732-bed housing complex would fulfill what SUNY New Paltz college administrators have identified as a “critical need:” housing for commuter and transfer students. According to the college, New Paltz has one of the lowest rates of housing availability among SUNY schools.
But much of residents’ ire regarding the project has stemmed from Wilmorite applying for a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). The company partnered with New Paltz’s non-profit foundation to construct the complex.
The Ulster County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), a six-member board appointed by the county legislature, revised its rules in September 2012 to allow dormitory projects, like Wilmorite’s Park Point, to qualify for the PILOT tax exemption program. The changes were made, “to mirror what IDAs are doing state wide,” according to Steve Perfit, the board’s treasurer.
Six months earlier, at the board’s March 14, 2012 meeting, Joseph Scott, the IDA’s attorney, requested a “Waiver of Conflict of Interest” in order to continue to act as counsel in the IDA’s future dealings with Wilmorite.