Saratoga County

Saratoga County IDA again approves tax breaks for SUNY-Adirondack plan

For the second time in three months, the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency has approved

For the second time in three months, the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency has approved a tax incentive package for building a new branch of SUNY-Adirondack.

A deal granting about $600,000 in tax breaks to Mountain Ledge Development Partnership to build a college building was approved 6-0 on Thursday, just as it was in early October.

The deal hasn’t changed — and the building is already under construction — but it had to be approved a second time because of a legal advertising error made when the project was first approved in October.

Then, the application had listed the project as being in the South Glens Falls Central School District, because it had a Gansevoort mailing address. It turned out, though, that the location was in the Saratoga Springs school district and that district hadn’t been notified.

“That’s a fatal error,” said IDA Executive Director Larry Benton. “It had to be re-advertised, with another public hearing.”

So a new hearing had to be held Thursday morning at Wilton town hall and new approval given, despite an objection from the school district.

In a letter, Saratoga Springs Superintendent of Schools Janice White said the proposed payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement would have a negative impact on school district revenues, and she asked for a postponement until after a Jan. 10 Board of Education meeting.

Her letter noted that the current SUNY-Adirondack building in Wilton is on the tax rolls and pays taxes.

The district’s objection didn’t obligate the IDA to wait, said Michael Valentine, senior county planner and assistant IDA administrator. He said agency member Glenn Rockwood, in voting for the agreement, noted that the school district’s concern is a local one, and the IDA was looking at the county-wide benefits the college would provide.

Ground was broken in October for the new $7 million classroom building for SUNY-Adirondack, which was formerly Adirondack Community College. Work has been going on under the assumption the initial approval was valid.

The developer will receive about $600,000 in tax breaks, including a five-year property tax exemption, and exemptions from paying sales tax on building materials and from the mortgage recording tax.

Mountain Ledge Limited Partnership is erecting the new classroom building off Route 9, near where SUNY-Adirondack now occupies a smaller building it rents from Mountain Ledge.

The Wilton branch is a satellite of SUNY-Adirondack’s main campus in Queensbury. The college’s Saratoga County enrollment has been growing, and the new building will allow it to teach more full-time students, college officials said.

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