Tuesday, February 22, 2011

News That Matters - Special Announcement - Putnam Gives Camarda Tens of Millions of Dollars

News That Matters

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Dear Readers,

As most of you already know Putnam County is a proud leader in Corporate Welfare and our county Legislature, who takes these things very seriously, wants to cement that role into the permanent annals of "Tax and Spend Republicans".

To that aim, they've directed (and don't tell me they didn't!) the county's Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to grant Connecticut based developer Paul Camarda with tens of millions of dollars in loans and tax abatements. And isn't it funny that this comes just at the time when the county is having to beg the state to continue our already overly high sales tax rate?

Let's do the math!
Corporate Tax Abatements + Sales Tax Increase = 0 Net Gain.

(Aside from the fact that those tax abatements won't kick in for years...)
To kinda, sorta make it seem like the IDA gives a whit about what you think, they're holding a series of hearings tomorrow during the day and at times specifically designed to ensure that you can't make it. Just as the County Legislature meets at an hour where most homeowners are still on the road returning from their jobs, to ensure that they get to work in the dark, so to apparently does the IDA.

A group of businessmen who have nothing better to do than take outside meetings? This is who's running things?

In an article this morning in the NYJN, Kevin Bailey says that this foray has generated "more inquiries" than any other undertaking. Perhaps he's missed Putnam's love affair with Paul Camarda? Perhaps in his world corporate welfare is a standard? After all, that's what the IDA is all about: welfare for wealthy corporations.

Do you know what I could do with a $5000 loan from the IDA? For one, I wouldn't face homelessness. For another I wouldn't have to eat the dog* and for a third I could actually afford to advertise my business thus building a locally owned and run business. You know, the whole "Shop Putnam" thing - for real.

Does the IDA have loans for me and the hundreds of other independent contractors that are bi-annualy extra-special-taxed by Putnam County just for the right to work and who get absolutely nothing in return for that tax?

(That's what we call a rhetorical question in the news biz since you already know the answer.)

According to the article Mr. Camarda said, "These are tools available to anybody. If we don't try to avail ourselves to what our competition in New Jersey or Connecticut has, we'd be very foolish," though he did not mention that Connecticut's 6% sales tax makes one heck of a difference when buying the large items he begs from non-existent stores in Putnam County and why people will still travel across the state line for large purchases.

But this is my favorite quote: "If all locally purchased construction materials for Stateline were bought in Putnam, that would generate $108,420 in county sales tax and $123,908 in state sales tax, according to its environmental study."  And just where would Mr. Camarda be buying all this stuff? From the Dill's Harold Lepler ran out of business? Does Mr. C. intend to build 1.7 million sq ft of retail space using materials from Home Depot and Michael's?

And think of the jobs generated through the mutli-year construction phase! How many independent contractors will Mr Camarda hire? How many licensed contractors will the County IDA require in order to front the man the taxpayers largesse? Actually, none. According to county law, a contractor has to be licensed to paint your bathroom but anyone can paint the mall, licensed or otherwise.

Or better, how many of Vinnie Leibell's folk will finally see their payday?

As written here the other day, here is the announcement posted by the IDA:

“P.L.I. LLC, (Camarda) a limited liability company with offices at 1699 Rte.6 has requested that the Industrial Development Agency provide financing for the Company in the form of tax-exemption/or taxable industrial development revenue bonds in an aggregate amount not to exceed Thirty-Three Million to be used to finance a certain project consisting of the following:

a. The construction of new buildings, comprised of approximat…ely 210,000 sq. ft on approximately 44 acres to be used as a retail center and as community and office space and the installation of certain equipment to be used by the Company to be used for commercial purposes and to be located at 3741 Danbury Avenue in The Town of Southeast. (Stateline)

b. Paying certain incidental expenses, including costs of issuance incurred in connection thereto.

c. Granting of certain other financial assistance available pursuant to Section 874 of N.Y. General Municipal Law, as amended including but not limited to certain real property tax relief, sales and use tax exemptions and mortgage recording tax exemptions.”

Patterson Crossing Realty Company, LLC. (Camarda) has also requested the IDA to finance in the form of tax-exempt and/or taxable industrial development revenue bonds not to exceed Fifty-Five Million dollars.

Southeast Town Hall on RT.22
Feb. 23rd, 2011
10:00 AM **

Patterson Town Hall
Feb.23rd, 2011
12:00 Noon**

Kent Town Hall
Feb. 23rd 2011
1:00 PM**

Carmel Town Hall
Feb. 23rd 2011
2:30 PM

Carmel resident Lori Kemp has this to ask:

Other taxpayer-funded gifts for this developer have included:

Interest-free 450K loan given by the Town of Carmel on the sale of the 19 acres for the Hotel project.

Interest-free loans given by way of allowing Camarda to pay his building fees in installments.

Empire Zone designation for the Carmel hotel & Union Place which comes with a tax abatement beginning at 50% of the nominal property tax for town, school, county, and increases 5% per year for ten years until it reaches 100%;

$1.5 million in multi-model grant to improve Rte 311 (Improvements that the developer promised to pay for);

…and now 55 million in IDA Bonds for Patterson Crossing and $33 million in IDA bonds for Stateline Crossing, and 110 million for Union Place in Mahopac.

Now, can someone please explain how these projects will be bringing “tax relief?”
'Nuff said.

The next time you see a County Legislator, the County Executive, any town board member from Patterson or Carmel or Southeast or any member of the county IDA, just drop your drawers and bend over... And all that rustling back there? Just hope he's not stealing your wallet like some cheap whore but getting ready to be polite enough to give you a hand job.


* I'm not going to eat the dog. Relax.
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