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Democratic candidates: End Medley Centre agreement
Irondequoit, N.Y. - Several Irondequoit Democratic candidates are calling for an end to the agreement between the town and the Medley Centre's owner.
This comes a few weeks after developer Scott Congel missed a deadline to show that he has invested $165 million into the project.
Town supervisor candidate Adam Bello along with town council candidates Lorie Barnum and Dave Seeley held a news conference Friday.
They're calling for the end of the current payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement that was enacted in 2009 between the Medley Center and the town of Irondequoit, East Irondequoit School District and County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency.
Under the current arrangement, nothing is being done and the PILOT has not worked, Bello said. The supervisor says that her hands are tied and I have a fundamental disagreement with that. There are many steps the town can be taking right now.
Bello laid out a four-step plan he and fellow Democrats believe will bring progress to the Medley Centre site.
First, he says the PILOT should be terminated.
Bello says by terminating the agreement, it will send a clear message to Congel that the town will not tolerate the Centre's current state.
Second, he wants Congel to make good on his promise to demolish three buildings at the site. Then, he also wants the towns code to be enforced at the site. Bello says the former mall is now riddled with graffiti and pot holes. He says there are not enough lights in the parking lot and the grass is uncut.
The current owner may not live by the mall and he may not have to drive by it every day, but we do and we deserve better than this, Bello said.
Lastly, Bello wants to create an Economic Development Task Force made up of local business owners, state and local government leaders and Irondequoit residents. They will be given the task of researching the best option for redeveloping the Medley Centre site.
Bello also accused the current town leaders of not doing enough to pressure Medley owner Scott Congel.
The current administration has been urging patience and just two weeks ago, our supervisor said Our hands are tied. Our patience has run thin and I refuse to believe that our hands are tied. We need to be tough with the owner of the mall, not patient.
Republican Town Supervisor Mary Joyce DAurizio says she has been firm with Congel.
She says she believes she has the tax payers interest at heart.
We have discussed this with the developer and we have to follow the PILOT, she explained. He is ensuring me that demolition will be taking place and our role is to protect the tax payers because there is no one knocking at the door to do something with that site. If we were to pull the PILOT like that we would be subject to litigation.
She also said that she is in constant contact with COMIDA and E. Irondequoit Schools about what is next. The three parties plan to meet next Tuesday to discuss how to proceed with the PILOT agreement.
DAurizio also pointed out that the PILOT was approved during a previous administration.
Today Monroe County Republican Chairman Bill Reilich released this statement:
In the height of hypocrisy, Adam Bello today backpedaled on a tax-break negotiated by Democrats when they controlled Irondequoit Town Hall. Not only did Adam serve as the top political adviser to the Town Supervisor who negotiated the deal, his own mother sat on the Town Board that approved the PILOT.
Scott Congel also weighed in on the cries to terminate the PILOT agreement:
"It is unfortunate that this project, which is so important for jobs creation, is being politicized. At no time did any of the candidates that appeared in this press conference ask for or get updated on the project and it's time lines. This project, which continues to move forward, will create thousands of jobs for Monroe County and is critical for our economic recovery! If asked, I would be glad to meet with any of these candidates to discuss the progress and timelines of the project. To date, they have not asked for any meeting."