MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The Mount Vernon Board of Education has unanimously approved a resolution asking city officials to enact a one-year moratorium on PILOT agreements involving the development of residential property within the district.
Citing a rise in multi-family homes and school district enrollment, the Board has requested that the city put an end payment in lieu of taxes - more commonly known as PILOT - agreements with housing developers within the district’s limits.
According to Board President Lesly Zamor, they unanimously passed the resolution “beacuse the city has approved plans and is contemplating additional approvals for the construction of residential housing projects, which includes several multi-family residential units that are expected to increase enrollment in the district’s schools.
“As part of this, both the city and the Mount Vernon Industrial Development Agency are contemplating offering significant tax incentives to housing projects and reducing the tax liability of such projects by entering into agreements for payments in lieu of taxes.”
If the city fails to acquiesce to the Board’s request, they’ve instructed the district’s attorney to determine if there is a basis for a legal challenge is present.
Zamor said that the Board believes a spike in enrollment will compromise the educational benefits and opportunities that are available to Mount Vernon students.
“We have an obligation and resident mandate to provide the best possible education to district students. At the same time, we have a responsibility to district taxpayers to be prudent overseers of their money. These PILOT agreements will hinder our ability to do this and we do not want to see an unfair shift in the tax burden to homeowners,” he said.
“This moratorium is in the best interests of everyone. We need the time to do our due diligence with the first priority of always providing high quality educational benefits and opportunities to our children and not having any undue financial burden on Mount Vernon taxpayers.”