Independent study ordered for Galvan agreement

Photo courtesy of the Galvan FoundationA rendering of the Galvan Foundation mixed-income apartment complex on the corner of 7th and State streets.

HUDSON — An independent analysis will be conducted on the proposed PILOT agreement with the Galvan Foundation, Common Council President Thomas DePietro said Monday.

The study will be conducted by SUNY New Paltz’s Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives.

First mentioned publicly at the informal Council meeting April 13, the proposed Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement is for a 77-unit mixed-income housing project at 7th and State streets.

At its April 21 regular meeting, the Council voted unanimously to table the resolution authorizing the city to enter into the agreement until a May 4 special meeting.

Several Council members noted that more time should be taken to research, ask questions and gather public comment.

The study is expected to be completed within four weeks, before the Council can vote on the project.

“The Common Council is committed to increasing affordable housing in Hudson,” DePietro said. “At the same time we need the expertise of the Benjamin Center to analyze the costs and benefits of the PILOT agreement.”

The last in-person Common Council meeting open to the public was Feb. 18.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo temporarily suspended the Open Meetings Laws as part of his state of emergency declaration March 7, allowing the Common Council to meet without permitting public access to meetings, provided that they are broadcast, recorded and later transcribed. Meetings have continued to be live-streamed via WGXC 90.7, but there has been no public comment during the meetings.

“The Council takes its due diligence seriously,” DePietro said. “Bringing in the Benjamin Center for an impartial review of the PILOT agreement is part of exercising that responsibility.”

The Galvan Foundation, developer of the proposed affordable housing project, is underwriting the study.

The proposed PILOT agreement is for 95% of the project, the housing portion. The foundation will make a payment of $77,000, increasing by 2% annually.

It does not include 400 feet of commercial space, which will generate an estimated $16,000 in taxes annually.

Council approval of a PILOT agreement between Hudson and the Galvan Foundation could be instrumental in securing funding from New York State Home and Community Renewal, the state’s affordable housing agency. The foundation hopes to secure funding in the spring round.

The city’s website now has the Galvan Foundation’s financial statements for the project, a list of questions and answers between the foundation and Council members, a project overview, and a place for residents to add comments, all of which were noted at a virtual Town Hall meeting on April 24.

Some of the questions brought up at the Council meeting are answered there, including the possibility of making more units available to those below 80% of the Area’s Median Income.

“The city of Hudson passed a community-driven Strategic Housing Action Plan, which identified the need for mixed-income housing,” according to the website. “The plan clearly calls for housing that does not concentrate poverty in a single neighborhood. The income mix is designed to further the goals identified in the SHAP.”

Twenty-seven are slated for those earning between $20,000 and $43,900, 40% to 60% of the AMI, with rents ranging from $454 to $970 depending on size. Another 26 are for those between $32,440 and $58,530, 60% to 80% of the AMI, with rents between $740 and $1,330, and 23 of the units are for those earning between $43,820 and $92,000, 80% to 130% of the AMI, with rents from $1,020 to $1,750.

The AMI for Columbia County is $78,900, according to New York State Homes and Community Renewal. With a 50-year commitment to affordable housing, the Galvan Foundation is anticipating an annual 2% rise in rents due to inflation.

The foundation has 225 units of mixed-income housing in Columbia County and 70,000 square feet of commercial and community facility space, as well as the Galvan Armory, which houses the Hudson Area Library, Hudson Senior Center, Perfect Ten Afterschool Program and in the future, COARC’s Starting Place Day Care Center.

The Galvan Foundation and its various entities challenged the 2019 assessment of 38 parcels in the city and have presented terms of settlement for reduction of assessed value for 21 of those parcels.

The Common Council will hold the May 4 special meeting as planned, and will vote on the challenges on assessments for the 2019 tax assessment rolls.

Abby Hoover is a reporter for Columbia-Greene Media. Contact her at ahoover@registerstar.com.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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