The Mt. Pleasant IDA Benefits All Property Owners and Taxpayers
A recent letter questioning the Mount Pleasant Industrial Development Agency’s (IDA) activities (“The Curious Role of Mt. Pleasant’s Industrial Development Agency,” Mar. 15-21) contained misleading statements and inaccuracies that need to be addressed.
The writer stated that our IDA is subject to few laws. In fact, IDAs are created by the state legislature and are highly regulated by the state Authorities Budget Office. The goal of an IDA is to attract and retain businesses, foster economic investment and create jobs. All IDAs are required to file annual reports that detail their actions. The reports are public and available for review in the town clerk’s office or on the IDA website (www.mtpleasantny.com/industrial-development-agency).
The writer stated that the IDA favors business interests, which is precisely what the IDA is intended to do. The incentives the IDA offers are sales tax exemptions on building materials and mortgage recording taxes and Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements. These incentives are provided at no cost to taxpayers.
Some recent projects undertaken by the IDA include the expansions of PepsiCo and Regeneron. Through the efforts of the IDA, rather than relocate to North Carolina or Texas, PepsiCo agreed to maintain its global R&D headquarters for beverages in the Town of Mount Pleasant, maintaining and creating hundreds of jobs and creating significant high-paying construction jobs while substantially increasing tax revenue for the town and school district.
The IDA financial incentives enabled the expansion of Regeneron resulting in the creation of hundreds of new high-paying jobs.
The economic benefits generated by these companies include reliable tax payments to our schools and town, as well as the spending power that their workers bring to local businesses. This helps keep our homeowners’ property taxes affordable, the precise mission of the IDA.
Finally, the writer objects to the IDA retaining a vendor which saved the town the expense of updating a 50-year-old Comprehensive Plan. His complaint is that the updated document calls for a “seismic change.” This is totally inaccurate. The Comprehensive Plan (which is still being considered by the Town Board) was carefully updated to reflect the economic realities of the 2020s, which are very different from the 1970s.
What it enables are much-needed improvements to the Elwood Avenue and Commerce Street commercial corridors, as well as tweaks to Valhalla’s business district. The revitalization of our hamlets will allow for the construction of new sidewalks, better parking, upgraded signage and utilities and some modest redevelopment. There is no intention for the construction of the development of massive apartment buildings or other structures incompatible with the suburban nature of our town. Most importantly, the revitalization of our downtown hamlets will have zero impact on our single-family residential neighborhoods.
The IDA is working judiciously to encourage appropriate improvements while preserving community character. This is a goal that will benefit all our property owners and taxpayers.
Chairman, Mount Pleasant Industrial Development Agency
Supervisor, Town of Mount Pleasant
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