Contrary to its custom, there are no materials attached to the Agenda for tonight’s Council Meeting, to allow the public to see the “exclusive use for tax reduction” proposal that the Council has been planning to vote on tonight. That Resolution is clearly meant to back the possible No Votes into a corner, by daring them to vote “no” on a “tax reduction”.
The Exclusive Use resolution is officially named “RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF SCHENECTADY IN SUPPORT OF USING HOST MUNICIPALITY REVENUES FROM A PROPOSED GAMING FACILITY FOR PROPERTY TAX RELIEF.” Click here for a pdf. file of the Resolution.
It states that the Schenectady Casino is the best site of all in the Capital Region, says that the Council expects to receive $5.7 annually as its 5% share of the casino tax revenues, and that a $5.7 million Host Municipality payment to the City of Schenectady would result in a reduction in real estate taxes of approximately 18%.”. The proposal then states that:
RESOLVED, that the Host Municipality payment received by the City of Schenectady will be used exclusively for the reduction of real property taxes in the City of Schenectady.
Of course, the Council cannot bind other Councils, dollars are interchangeable in a budget, and there will surely be normal increases in the budget, along with many casino-related expenses, that make a 18% cut in real property taxes an unlikely event. To my knowledge, neither the Mayor nor the City Council has released any estimates of the additional expenses the City will incur “hosting” construction process or operation of the Casino.