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Communications Bureau, City of Rochester

Links of the Day:

– The city released a summary of the mayor’s budget forums, attended by 170 people. Many complained about the back taxes owed by Wilmorite on the Sibley building:

Address the Sibley’s/Wilmorite tax delinquency.

“Collect property taxes owed to the City (Sibley’s).” (Edgerton)

“Wilmorite should not be able to walk away from paying taxes ($22m) – not being held accountable.” (Edgerton)

“Foreclose on Sibley’s.” (Adams)

“Collect unpaid City taxes from owners such as Wilmorite, Sibley’s etc.” (Cobbs Hill)

This issue will come to a head very soon. The company about to buy Sibley recently withdrew an application to COMIDA for tax breaks on the renovation. Mayor Tom Richards said that’s because “We want to get it all done at once.” He’s referring to a resolution on the sale, new tax breaks and old back taxes. The city isn’t likely going to get a lot of money out of the deal.

Participants also asked the city to stop subsidizing commercial developments through tax breaks and charge for parking at Ontario Beach Park, as well as Durand-Eastman. People were not enthusiastic about purchases for new surveillance cameras and asked the city to delay work in the port marina and Erie Harbor promenade. People do not want cuts to public safety.

– Some residents in Penfield are fighting a group home for veterans. “What if they snap?”

– No Child Left Behind mandates tutoring services for failing students. But the standards are lax, students aren’t getting the services and the services aren’t very good. Meanwhile, millions of dollars are wasted on the effort.

– The exploding deer population has become a problem in the City of Syracuse.

3 Responses to Anger Over Sibley

  1. Great fodder for the Occupy ROC movement.

    Politics aside, the inability for the Sibley complex’s owner to pay its real estate taxes (let’s call it a breach of contract with municipal governments to pay their fair share of support for public services) has to do with the ecomonic infeasibility of property to function as a viable enterprise.

    It’s no different than the upsidedown residential properties that dot the unban landscape across the NE. When the cost of demolition excedds the value of the vacant land afterwards, you have a bankrupt situation.

    While the Sibley’s complex was endowed in the past by a sympathetic County governmant to house the downtown campus of its community college, it is a defacto distressed tenant trapped by its inability to move quickly and efficiently out of an upside-down leasehold property.

    Instead of a massively subsidized private acquisition of the property which will probably include the waiver of its fair share of local property taxes as part of the deal, a clean Kodal-like bankruptcy filing may have been more fair to local property taxpayers in that at least a judge would have been in the mix possibly looking-out for their interests.

    Instead, the transaction is staged to ecact great weeping and gnashing of teeth for a few corporate welfare weenies who know from experience that all municipal higher-ups are closet developers who love to be a player in local real estate issues ubder guise of “public good.”

    They shouild be by law required to pony-up at least 20% of the project equity for such private/public ventures and share the losses, if any, at an equal rate.

    Having fun yet?

  2. April 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm L.William responds:

    Maybe Ms. Marshall from Penfield should look into living in a bubble because you never know what person is going to snap. these men and women don’t ask what if they give anywhere from two years to life .Yes some give the biggest sacrifice of all their lives. This Veteran will think twice before going near Penfield.

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