Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Use of Taxes Could Help Maintain Coney's Public Amenities

The city is considering placing the tax revenue generated from the condos, retail, and amusements that are coming to Coney, worth billions of dollars in private development, right back into the neighborhood instead of being allocated out to the city’s general budget. This brought up by Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz’s top planning official, Jon Benguiat. Through a program called PILOT’s which consist of developers making ‘Payments In Lieu of Taxes’.

Though the idea has its opponents, supporters feel this is a good way to ensure the preservation of the neighborhood’s public amenities even at times when the city runs into times of economic struggle.

Sarah Ryley of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported:
Similar arguments are made in favor of PILOTs for Coney Island, where several projects are planned but lack funding, including: The New York Aquarium’s new exterior, repair and maintenance for the boardwalk, beach improvements, Steeplechase Plaza, streetscape improvements and the restoration of the B&B Carousel. The CIDC is asking for private donations for those projects.

“[Markowitz’ office] wanted to do some creative thinking about where the new tax income from Coney Island will go, and whether some of it can be plowed back into Coney Island rather than going into the general city funds, and I applaud them for that,” said CIDC board member Dick Zigun.

“We don’t want Coney Island to get overlooked when the city doles out money, especially once we put all this money into improving Coney Island,” he said.

…. “Property that might be worth $1 million in property taxes, after they throw a billion dollars worth of improvements on it, it might be worth $10 million in property taxes, or $50 million in [Coney Island’s] case,” said Ceretti. “Rather than hit them over the head for $50 million right away, they’ll get to that amount over a long period of time as a way to make the
project financially feasible.”
The PILOT’s (Payments In Lieu of Taxes) would be a needed program in Coney. Especially with important Coney facets like the current-deteriorating Boardwalk. According to The Gowanus Lounge which has been reporting the boardwalk’s ‘trip & fall’ fiasco stating:
16 separate instances of litigation in 2005 and 2006 about injuries sustained by people walking on what we like to call Coney Island's trip and fall boardwalk. The city was sued seven times and settled nine cases. One can expect significant lawsuits this year as well, as parts of the boardwalk are still in horrendous shape and some are frighteningly deteriorated, in the sense that someone might fall through boards and drop 6-8 feet.

A Self-Sustaining Coney Island? [The Brooklyn Daily Eagle]
Lawsuits & Repairs on Coney's Trip and Fall Boardwalk [The Gowanus Lounge]

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