Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello — in a mailing to residents — is warning of huge tax hikes if the Garvies Point waterfront redevelopment falls through, but opponents of the project accuse Spinello of “scare tactics” and berate him for using city money to send the fliers.
Uniondale-based RXR Glen Isle Partners LLC is planning to break ground later this year on the $960 million project, which would include 1,110 condominiums and apartments, parks, stores, offices and marinas.
Two lawsuits filed in November, one by 105 area residents and another by the neighboring Village of Sea Cliff, seek to block construction.
The flier sent to all Glen Cove residents warns of tax increases reaching 29 percent in 2017 and 40 percent over the next three years if Garvies Point is not built. Spinello said in an interview on July 22 that the 40-percent hike could be spread out over as many as six years.
“I’m not trying to give a doomsday scenario, but this would be very tough on the city,” Spinello said. “I’m certain there will be a significant increase in taxes if this project doesn’t go through. You’d have to cut services, which you wouldn’t want to do, and we’d probably have to do some layoffs, which I’d never want to do.”
Spinello said about $2,500 in city money was spent on printing, postage and other costs.
Glen Cove resident and Garvies Point opponent Joan Harrison said the city is “wasting money” on a “misleading” leaflet. “The city had no right to pay for this,” she said.
Spinello said the expense was an appropriate use of tax money for what he called “an informational piece” based on detailed financial analyses.
He said the city would be forced to raise taxes and cut programs because it would lose $25 million from the sale to RXR of 52 acres of land that is now owned by the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency. It would owe $48 million to RXR, the federal government and others that have spent money on environmental remediation, road-reconstruction design and other costs targeted for the development and would want their money back if the project is abandoned, he said.
The mailing includes columns contrasting what would happen if the project is and is not built, such as $600 million in revenue for the city, schools, county and library “with the Garvies Point redevelopment” and no revenue without it. Revenue estimates — which include payments in lieu of taxes, sales taxes and sewer fees — come from detailed reports prepared for the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency and Glen Cove Local Economic Assistance Corp. by three companies, the mayor said.
Glen Cove resident Pat Tracy, who opposes the development, said she doesn’t trust numbers from “hired consultants” for the agencies. The leaflet leaves off added major expenses from the development, such as increased fire-protection costs, she said.
Harrison said the leaflet also omits how the taxing jurisdictions would not receive most projected revenues until after 2043.
“What they’re trying to do is con the populace so we stop complaining, with the threat that if you don’t agree with us, we’re going to raise your taxes,” she said.