Ulster County Industrial Development Agency nears decisions on tax breaks for two businesses that failed to meet job goals – a February 21, 2013 article in Freeman – reports that IDA Chairman David O’Halloran has been negotiating with Skate Time 209 in Accord and Hudson Valley Sports Dome in Milton for a voluntary reduction in the benefits they receive – for failing to live up to their job promises.
O’Halloran said he hopes to have a deal in place with the Sports Dome by the March 13 meeting of the agency’s board of directors. He was less optimistic about reaching a deal with Skate Time, which is owned by county Legislature Chairwoman Terry Bernardo and her husband, Len. “I have not made any significant progress in negotiating with them to reach a voluntary agreement,” O’Halloran said.
On their application for tax breaks, the Bernardos said they would create 20 full-time jobs, but in 2011, they reported only nine full- and part-time jobs, a 55 percent shortfall in job creation. Under the proposed policy, tax breaks given to the business would be reduced by 27.5 percent. However, because the business has created other benefits to the community, the reduction was cut in half, to 14 percent.
Len Bernardo has maintained that job creation was not a criteria for receiving the tax breaks.
The Bernardos are full of it. The Ulster County Development Corporationis the lead economic development agency for the County with a mission of creating and maintaining jobs through the attraction of new business or the retention and expansion of existing business. In order to accomplish this objective, UCDC offers and administers financial programs and loan funds, assists with site selection, and provides overall guidance and assistance with general and specific business problems, issues and opportunities.
Clearly stated, the UCDC’s mission is to create and maintain jobs through IDA. In other words, Len and Terry Bernardo get the tax break if they create the promised jobs. There is no other possible reason to get the taxpayers’ money. Imaginary benefits to the community do not count. Exploiting kids at $3.75 an hour does not count. Breaking the law and letting the Girl Scouts overnight at the rink doesn’t count either.
I know the Bernardos believe they can fool all the people all the time, but these comments on the Freeman article vouch for the contrary:
Sounds like political favoritism and possibly conflict of interest. She is a county legislator and the county legislature may have some control over the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency. So if anything to avoid and thing that looks like favoritism they should hold her to the original stipulations of whatever the agreement was.
Just another instance of the ‘citiots’ moving upstate to show the stupid woodchucks how it’s done. They probably could not have pulled this off in Nassau County.
Here’s the deal. Skate Time 209 has no business even being in a “voluntary negotiation”. The documentation for the tax deal stipulates clearly that 20-full time jobs would be created. They have not within the LEGAL time frame. Pay up. These deadbeats are the most grotesque example of local Republican “hand in pockets” criminality that is rampant in this area. If the Bernardo’s really want to play mouthpiece to the failed Conservative agenda then their MORAL and LEGAL responsibility is to honor their obligations. Frankly, it is clear the Bernardo’s used this as a “loan” for other things and promised jobs they knew would never come to fruition. Disgusting people, indeed.
Just goes to show you, you dont need to be a valid businessman with any morals to be elected.
“Len Bernardo has maintained that job creation was not a criteria for receiving the tax breaks.” What other criteria would there be for a PILOT if not job creation? Maybe political connections? Come on Mr. Bernardo the citizens of Ulster County are not stupid. You made a deal that you did not live up to and now you have to give back the money you received. Do the right thing!!!!!!!
Should O’Halloran be involved with Skatetime at all? He has hosted fundraisers for Mrs. Len Bernardo for crying out loud! When will this county address conflicts of interest that are part of the daily routine of doing business. It is sickening. The Executives office likes low hanging fruit, here is some for you! Conflicts of interest, go get ’em!
– Jon Dogar-Marinesco