Village OKs deal with plaza owner

Gwen Chamberlain

Seancony, the company that owns the Lake Street Plaza, has negotiated a new payment in lieu of taxes agreement with Yates County, Penn Yan, Milo and the Penn Yan School District. Last week the village board gave its approval to the restructuring, authorizing Mayor Robert Church to sign the new plan. Introducing the issue at the meeting, Church said he wasn’t totally happy with the agreement, and added, “But I understand that if we want to get money out of them, this is the way we have to go.”

According to Steve Griffin, executive director of Finger Lakes Economic Development, the changes will not impact the village’s revenue. He said the previous agreement did not take into account that some tenants, representing about 60 percent of plaza property, paid their own real property taxes. Therefore, when the plaza’s property was taken off the tax assessment rolls through the original PILOT, those tenants got a break on their tax bill.

Along with that issue, SEANCONY argued that the property’s assessed value was increased by over $1 million.

Under the new agreement, the plaza property has been divided into two segments — one that includes the portions where tenants pay the property taxes and one covered by SEANCONY’s annual abatement payment.

SEANCONY will make an annual abatement payment of $36,971.55. The previous agreement called for a payment of around $52,000, according to Griffin.

Other business on the board’s June 21 agenda included:

FOIL APPEAL — The board denied a freedom of information appeal from Robert Hawley. Trustee Michael Christensen said the appeal, seeking information that had been redacted from a list Hawley had requested and received, was to get information that Hawley had not originally requested. Hawley’s original request was for a list of fire department members who are participating in the length of service program. The list he was given by Village Clerk Shawna Wilber included names of individuals, but other information, such as Social Security numbers and dates of birth had been redacted. Hawley had not specifically requested that information, according to Wilber.

“We provided him everything he ‘foiled’,” said Christensen.

Another related FOIL appeal was heard by the village board this morning (June 29).

• BOAT TRAILER PARKING PERMITS: Recreation Director Dan Doyle reported that 49 season passes have been issued, bringing in over $830 in revenue. Additionally, one time passes brought in $260. He said the project was completed with help from several village departments.

• PARKING — The board authorized Church to sign an agreement yet to be negotiated with Mike Worden, owner of property on Elm Street to provide parking space for the village. The agreement will need to be reviewed and approved by Village Attorney Edward Brockman.

• HORSE MANURE — Church reported he met with two members of the Mennonite community to discuss a complaint  lodged last month about horse manure left on village streets. He said he got a crash course on horse droppings versus waste from other animals, and learned that it quickly degrades, and that he’s learned that it has never been a practice to use any kind of device to “catch” manure.“I don’t have a feeling we should go any further with this,” Church said, adding, “They are members of our community. They use our roads, and that’s a fact.”

• HYDROFRACKING: Penn Yan’s village wastewater treatment plant will not accept wastewater from hydrofracking operations. The board unanimously approved the measure.

• RED JACKET PARK: Doyle reported that improvements to the pavilion at Red Jacket Park have been completed with donations from Birkett Mills and Carey’s Lumber. The companies provided primer, paint and labor to repaint the pavilion recently. Village workers had completed improvements to the electric service in the building as well.