At the very end of Tuesday’s untelevised Town Board meeting, the board voted for a resolution, not on the published agenda, requesting the state Senate and Assembly pass legislation authorizing Yorktown to create an Industrial Development Agency (IDA).
The resolution was handed to board members just before the vote was taken and there was no discussion. Just the following comments by Supervisor Grace.

  1. There’s a potential for a $10 million investment in Yorktown. No specifics were given as to exactly who or what that might be.
  2. Yorktown should have its own IDA because if the investor went to the already existing Westchester County IDA for financial assistance, the town would lose out on potential revenue. How much he didn’t explain.

Creating a Yorktown IDA may be a good idea for Yorktown. I don’t know. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to know something about what I’m about to do before I jump ahead and do it.
Here are just a few of the questions I’d be asking. Questions I haven’t heard the Town Board discuss, at least not in an open meeting with all five board members present.

  • Who has expressed interest in spending $10 million in Yorktown? And for what type/s of project/s?
  • Has the interested investor approached the Westchester County IDA?
  • For the town, what are the pros and cons of having its own IDA instead of having potential investors go through the county IDA? If the only advantage for the town is some revenue, then how much revenue is Supervisor Grace anticipating?
  • What types of town tax breaks is Supervisor Grace contemplating offering a developer?
  • Who would be the members of the IDA and approve applications? Town Board members?   
  • Who has the technical expertise needed to evaluate multi-million dollar financial projects? Town Board members? Or, would the town have to hire additional staff or outside consultants to evaluate applications?

Is it so unreasonable to expect Supervisor Grace to be just a bit more open and transparent with us?