Cortland, NY — Cortland County IDA Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) deals help keep and create jobs while adding to the tax bases of the communities for which they were approved, according to a just-released audit of the agency by the Office of the State Comptroller.
Completed in January after months of intensive document review and interviews with the agency’s staff and board, the audit praised the IDA for its organizational soundness, the transparency with which it operates, and the quality of the deals it assembles in its work to drive the local economy forward.
“As a result of their effective project management and monitoring, including verification of reported data, the board and CCIDA officials ensure that the community is receiving an appropriate return on its investment,” the audit report stated. “Furthermore, they contribute to business growth within the county by encouraging project companies to develop or retain employment.”
The audit looked at 11 active CCIDA projects and found that for each one the board had completed a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis to aid in its decisions to support them. The audit further reports that those IDA deals have been successful in increasing the long-term tax bases of the corresponding taxing municipalities, pointing out that in four of them, PILOT payments over the terms of the agreement would net those taxing entities $377,000 more than the real property tax revenues would have been if no projects had occurred at those locations.
Auditors estimated that the improvement value of all 11 projects totals nearly $12 million, which will increase the assessments on those properties – and correlating tax revenues – when the PILOT deals expire.
“We work hard to do good deals that benefit both the projects and the community, and we are very sensitive to doing things the right way,” said CCIDA CEO Garry L. VanGorder. “Comptroller’s audits are no fun, but they are intended to help agencies run more effectively. For us, it’s good to see top-level validation for the way we go about our business.”
The audit’s focus was CCIDA’s project management practices, with evaluations centering on the period between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. A copy of the report is attached and is also available at the Comptroller’s website, http://www.osc.state.ny.us/, or at the IDA’s site, www.cortlandbusiness.com –