Two Nassau County legislative committees have voted in favor of an arrangement that would give the county a lower percentage of revenue from the Garvies Point waterfront redevelopment in Glen Cove than it typically gets from real estate projects.
The Monday votes by the Finance and Rules committees were along party lines, with the four Republicans on each committee voting in favor and the three Democrats voting against.
The Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency on June 30 approved hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for Garvies Point’s developer, Uniondale-based RXR Glen Isle Partners LLC, in the form of PILOTs — payments in lieu of taxes. The city proposes that the county receive 6.4 percent of the payments instead of 7.5 percent.
The finance committee meeting included a debate between Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello and Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), a former Glen Cove City Council member.
DeRiggi-Whitton said a $97 million bond to pay for parks and other public amenities for Garvies Point — an amount that would grow to an estimated $283 million with interest and other costs — is “a gift for the developer.” A financially struggling city shouldn’t be giving away money to RXR Realty, the majority owner of RXR Glen Isle, she said.
Later in the meeting, DeRiggi-Whitton’s father, former Glen Cove Mayor Donald DeRiggi, made a similar argument.
Spinello said that even with the PILOTs and bond, Garvies Point would be a financial boon for the city and county. In addition to $21 million in PILOTs, the county is projected to take in $75 million in project-related sales taxes, sewer fees and other revenue, he said.
“This project is new revenue,” Spinello said. “For 30 years this area has not generated one penny of tax revenue for the city, the schools, the county and the library.”
The money for the bond comes from future revenue from the project, which would include 1,110 residential units, stores, offices and marinas. Manhattan-based Citigroup estimated that 46 percent of the nearly $615 million in PILOTs would go to bond costs rather than to the city, county, Glen Cove City School District and the Glen Cove Public Library.
DeRiggi-Whitton said that analysis undermines the key reason for Garvies Point — to provide tax revenue for the city. She pointed to past agreements with RXR that called for the company to pay for public amenities.
Spinello said those same agreements also contemplated financial assistance for the developer.