Agency OKs revised, extended PILOT for airplane overhaul operation

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A revised and extended payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for an airplane overhaul operation at the county airport was approved by the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency Friday.

The board approved the request from owner 394 Hangar Road Corp. following a lightly attended public hearing. Highlights of the revised agreement, known as a PILOT, are:

• A fixed yearly payment of $462,468 for 2014 to 2017. The entire payment goes to the county, as previously agreed to by the city and school district. The current annual payment is about $758,000. The smaller payment reflects a reduced assessment, provided by 394 Hangar Road.

The old PILOT agreement ends in 2017. It was drawn up in 2003.

• No payments starting in 2018 and continuing through the end of the lease 394 Hangar Road has with tenant Premier Aviation Overhaul Center. Including renewals, this lease could continue until 2053. However, the facility is scheduled to be turned over to the county in 2018. Such a transfer would make the PILOT payment moot because county-owned property is tax exempt. However, should the complex continue to be taxable after 2017, the no-payment provision in the PILOT will remain in force.

• If it is still effect, the IDA will review the status of the agreement every five years starting in 2020. It will decide whether to let it stand, modify it or terminate it. This provision was added by the IDA board members when they considered the request Friday; it was not part of the original application.

At the public hearing, Robert B. Mezza Jr., director of business and finance at the Rome school district, expressed concern about the PILOT agreement if it went the full length of the lease. Several IDA board members expressed similar reservations at the group’s previous meeting.They continued the discussion at Friday’s session, resulting in the addition of language that gives the IDA the chance to review the appropriateness of the agreement periodically.

The vote to approve the amended PILOT agreement was 4-0 with one abstention. Two board members were absent.

The reduced annual payment that is the equivalent of 100 percent of the property taxes is based on an assessment of $7.9 million. The current assessment is nearly $13 million.

The PILOT change was sought as annual refunds received by 394 Hangar Road through the state’s Empire Zone program are decreasing and will be zero after 2017. The Empire Zone benefit covered most of the PILOT payment in the first 10 years of the agreement.

394 Hangar Road Corp. is a subsidiary of Mohawk Valley EDGE, which contracts with the IDA to provide staff for the agency.

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