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Benefits of ‘The Cottages’ is based on dubious data

Posted 8 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Editor:

The Orleans County Economic Development Agency is about to give the Wegman Group, developer of the Cottages at Troutburg, a tax incentive. Based on some very dubious assumptions, the agency is claiming a 53:1 return on the taxpayers’ investment.

Assumption No. 1: The developer will build 400 cottages.

Consider the following:

You would not own the property, but would pay $495/month site rent.

Rent plus $2,500 tax = an effective tax rate of $8,440, for a small three season cottage!

What is to prevent future rent hikes?

What if the development is sold?

What if the development fails?

What if the development is a success? At 400 cottages, the development is highly congested and no longer a peaceful lakeside getaway.

Future resale value of a home in this development?

With sales of even the prime lakefront lots progressing slowly, I have to assume that potential buyers are asking these same questions.

Assumption No. 2:  The cottage owners will spend $9,100 a year and they will spend 100 percent of it in Orleans County.

The Cottages at Troutburg is sited on the Orleans/Monroe county border. My home is half a mile from this site, and from my own experience I can verify that at least 90 percent will be spent in Hamlin and Brockport, i.e. Monroe County.  The $9,100 figure also assumes “full time” seasonal residents, but many will be weekenders.

It is corporate welfare at its worst when a rich developer receives an unnecessary handout on the backs of taxpayers. Such a give-away is a slap in the face to the taxpayers in general, but especially to the poor and the elderly that need and deserve such a break, as well as to the students of the community that will lose school tax revenue.

The Orleans County Economic Development Agency needs to hear from taxpayers before their meeting on Feb. 14.   Please contact James Whipple, CEO of the EDA, at 585-589-7060 x105 or e-mail him at jwhipple@orleansdevelopment.org.

Sincerely,

Sean Harnett
Kendall