Original Article 

By William J. Kemble, correspondent

October 21, 2020

KINGSTON, N.Y. – Ulster County Industrial Development Agency officials expect that $3 will be returned to the local economy for every $1 provided to Kingstonian developers in tax breaks and grants.

The estimate was provided Wednesday in a cost-benefit analysis of the $54.9 million project released by the agency as part of the information given to the county Legislature, which is also reviewing a separate analysis issued to lawmakers but still not available to the public.

“The IDA’s cost-benefit analysis shows that the public will benefit three times as much it spent with payroll for new jobs, sales tax, property tax and income revenue,” agency Chief Executive Officer Rose Woodworth said.

County Executive Pat Ryan has also authorized a separate cost-benefit analysis that was delivered on Oct. 16 but was only made available to county legislators, city school district officials, Mayor Steve Noble, and the county Industrial Development Agency. Ryan has declined requests to make the report the public, with his office stating information is in draft form.

State Committee on Open Government Assistant Director Kristin O’Neill said Ryan’s cost-benefit report should have some of its information available to the public upon request even if the consultant’s opinion is withheld until discussed publicly.

“Any aspects of it that contain factual tabulations or data should be disclosed,” she said.

Kingstonian Development LLC and Herzog Supply Company are seeking $28.21 million in property tax savings over 25 years, sales and use tax exemptions of $1.48 million, and $325,575 in waived mortgage recording tax.

The project would also be awarded a $3 million tax break from the city of Kingston, with the agency analysis using that funding as part of the costs to taxpayers. That money is earmarked for the construction of a parking garage at the complex, which would have 277 of the project’s 420 parking slots dedicated for public use.

Proposed by Kingstonian Development LLC and Herzog Supply Co., the Kingstonian is to comprise 143 apartments, 8,000 square feet of retail space, a 32-room boutique hotel, a pedestrian plaza, a footbridge crossing Schwenk Drive between the new development and Kingston Plaza, and a 420-space parking garage. It would straddle Fair Street Extension in Uptown Kingston between North Front Street and Schwenk Drive.

The report was produced using Inform Analytics software that was purchased by the agency earlier this year to assess whether developers were providing accurate information on applications for tax breaks. It evaluates costs and benefits based on economics of a specific region such as income, growth, and demographic factors.

Among findings was that over the 25-year tax period there would be a regional benefit of $19.55 million increase in temporary payroll and $54.4 million in ongoing payroll; an $847,000 increase in property tax revenue; and $249,000 in temporary sales tax revenue and $693,000 in ongoing sales tax revenue. State benefits would include $971,000 in temporary income taxes and $2.3 million in ongoing income tax; $249,000 in temporary sales tax revenue and $663,000 in ongoing sales tax revenue.

Woodworth said the agency’s cost-benefit analysis does not include the request by developers to consider costs for the parking garage and other expenses because the state does not recognize those in the calculations of payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements.

“I’m not calling the parking garage a benefit,” she said. “I’m also not including the cost of keeping up the (public) bathrooms and I’m not including the cost of the public park.”

Information about the parking garage was included in the release of the agency’s report as a way to show what the developers are seeking.