"The whole idea of PILOTS, Payments In Lieu Of Taxes, makes no sense to me. No new revenue stream is created by them. Rather a tax rate, lower than that of normal real estate taxes, is charged and the proceeds are directed solely towards park maintenance. But then where does the money come from to pay for the all city services required for the new housing – schools, police, firemen, sanitation, road maintenance, water and sewer service, etc.? Why it comes from the general fund generated by the usual sources of city revenue. So, either, the existing city services are diluted to cover the needs of new luxury condos, and everyone suffers from a reduction of city services. Or additional funds from the general revenues are used to pay for the additional services, that is, additional taxes paid by those who did buy these multi-million dollar condos. The only possible beneficiaries of this scheme are those who can afford this luxury housing. I think we have given more than enough tax benefits for the very wealthy.
Since the city parks department architects designed and built the northern end of the park in Dumbo, finished in 2006 for $7 million, there was an incredible rise in real estate values for that community.The taxes in DUMBO alone should be sufficient justification that this park has more than paid for itself! It doesn't need to pay one more dime into the system - let it enjoy the tax revenue it has already generated.
And if we are to have private housing inside our public parks, that is a huge policy decision. New York State forbids housing in state parks. Where is the public debate? It has been by proxy through our votes - we have successfully gotten rid of the politicians who advocated for this policy. But with the current mayor at the helm, maybe that isn't enough. Maybe we need a referendum on the next ballot to prevent this from happening or to allow it for other parks. But right now, today, we have the opportunity to simply say NO TO HOUSING. Find another way to pay for the park but do not alienate public park lands forever with private housing."
It was clear from the 'suits' in the audience last night that the tasty morsels of land in Brooklyn Bridge Park that our city and Mayor Bloomberg are dangling in front of developers has attracted them like sharks. It remains to be seen if the commission that has been put together to look into housing alternatives will truly be able to resist their pressure.