On Feb. 21 the town board met and held a public hearing regarding a new real estate property tax incentive available only to non-residential new businesses in Yorktown that make property improvements. The incentive would be a reduction on the increased assessment by 50 percent.
A group of six residents spoke against the incentive, believing that the board had not adequately studied the effectiveness of such incentives when weighed against the loss of income to the town. Several studies were submitted that showed the boost to economic development was negligible in practice. Others, including myself, suggested that the incentives be limited to smaller locally based businesses and should not include larger national companies such as Lowe’s.
The legislation was recommended by a task force that included local business leaders selected by the supervisor and the town attorney.
It was quite evident that the four Republican members of the board had already determined to vote in favor and no contrary evidence or views would be considered. Thus, the public hearing was nothing but a sham.
As expected, the board voted in favor rather than postponing its vote to review the new research available to them.
At the end of the public hearing, Supervisor Grace spoke about the benefits, making broad unsubstantiated assertions, which the public could not question.
We need to put our town government back in the hands of the people!