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My position remains what it has been as this process has been discussed. I do not believe the requirements of the project justify the tax abatements provided to the developer. While the figures for this project as it is detailed right now set rents at rates which would make the average for the building 67% AMI [area median income], it is my understanding that there has been no modification to the contract which would guarantee this average (or even close to this average) during any point of the PILOT. Instead, the project allows for units to adhere to the upper limits of a very wide range of AMI at any point. Specifically, 1/3 could be up to 60%, 1/3 could be up to 80%, and 1/3 could be up to 130%. If rents were set at the higher end of the limits, then the building average would be 90% AMI--a vastly different scenario than the one hypothetically spelled out in their proposal.
In my experience, relying on the good faith of any developer to maintain affordability inevitably ends in the goals of a project not being met. This is an easily remedied situation--it could be written into the agreement that as rents are adjusted, the building wide AMI average must be maintained. Without this protective measure, the City of Hudson risks issuing a monumentally long tax abatement without any assurance that the housing developed as a result of it would be truly affordable. This is especially crucial because we know that the tax burden will have to be distributed across the base of owners in Hudson who do not have abatements. Small homeowners must be protected, and more importantly, we must ensure that the other tenants in Hudson do not see their rents rise as the result of increased property taxes which are paid for by rent increases set by landlords.
I urge all of you to continue to be thoughtful in your debate around this process, and ensure that this project is a good one for the City of Hudson before it is approved. I do not believe that this project, in its current parameters, is beneficial. However, I do believe with negotiation on some of the parameters, it could be such a project. . . .The members of the Common Council received the email from Garrard yesterday afternoon, but there was no mention of it at last night's informal meeting. It will be interesting to see if any consideration is given to Garrard's warnings and recommendations before the Council votes on the resolution authorizing the execution of the PILOT agreement next Tuesday.
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