The article (and I use that term loosely) recently published in the Glen Cove Record Pilot “Waterfront To Proceed As Planned,” had us totally LOL.
It seems Mayor Spinello just can’t get his facts straight. He’s on record quoting a “2 second increase” at the intersection of Northern Blvd and Glen Cove Road, when his own latest Environmental Impact Study states 26 seconds. He publicly cites a number of new Glen Cove School District admissions based on when this project contained a hotel, not 1,140 units of housing. The number of jobs purportedly created by this project? Well, the city’s website, RXR’s Garvies Point website and the City’s public statements each state a different number of jobs created. This article states “at least 1,000 construction and permanent jobs.” Seems like no one really knows, doesn’t it?
But back to the article at hand…
Early on, Mayor Spinello cites “a waste of taxpayer’s money.” We’d like him to share with the taxpayers of Glen Cove how much the City has spent in trying to push this mega-development through? There’s the high-priced Westchester attorney Michael Zarin on retainer for years, legions of “consultants,” engineers, planners – you name it. The two lawsuits recently filed most assuredly cost less than 1% of what the City of Glen Cove has spent to date on Garvies Point. In fact, even as Glen Cove teeters near default, at City Hall they have been hiring more consultants, staff and giving themselves salary increases. It’s a non-stop party when you climb in bed a big developer, ain’t it?
Next the article cites public hearings will be held soon, yet Mayor Spinello recently moved forward in trying to privatize more City meetings and hearings, and recently derided those of us who dare question the project as “a bunch of animals.”
Spinello indicates that City’s credit rating “has remained neutral.” This is misleading. Glen Cove’s bond rating is Baa3, one step above junk. In Moody’s rating rationale from December 2015, they stated this rating “reflects the city’s deficit fund balance position which continues despite the 2007 issuance of deficit financing bonds. The rating also incorporates a sizable and diverse tax base, an elevated debt burden that pressures city finances, and the inclusion of one-time revenues to balance the fiscal 2016 budget.”
Yes, Mr. Mayor, the sky is falling. And it’s your fault.
His understanding of how TIF functions is well, frightening. Regarding this financing, Mayor Spinelleo actually states that the City “has no liability to repay it.” Glen Cove residents – our mayor is equivocating at best. This is our debt, so of course it’s our liability.
If Glen Cove cannot repay, we don’t go into general default, but assuming we don’t plan to default, we are indeed the ones making both the interest and principal payments. We have heard that all those payments will be “more than covered by the incremental tax revenues.” Yet we continue to await the results of the TIF feasibility study from June 2015 which is supposed to back that assertion up with something more substantial than the assurances of the mayor and RXR. Mr. Mayor – where are the results of this feasibility study, and has it been audited?
His budget practices have been flagged by none less than State Comptroller himself. Reginald’s response? The state makes recommendations but we don’t have to follow them. Is this reassuring anyone?
The article closes by saying the project will take “five to six years.” But, the City’s planning board and many documents cite a ten year build.
But here is the key takeaway:
“The mayor “[notes] that the downside of not moving forward is far worse. “The city has money due this year for loans from the county;…so, worst case scenario, the city could be on the line for $50 million.”
So Mayor Spinello is mum on the traffic aspect, mum on the toxins, and he is not really saying that this development is genuinely good for Glen Cove residents, is he? He’s not saying it’s good for the community or that we need all of this high density housing, or touting any tangible benefits. Instead, he’s saying, “we need the money or else.”
Money is not the right reason to build a complex of apartment towers on our shoreline that will blight our communities for generations, Mr. Mayor.