Monday, November 19, 2007

Could the City Reclaim or Threaten to Reclaim Roosevelt Island to Force the ESDC to Withdraw FMV Tax Bills?

This afternoon it was announced that New York City has reclaimed South Brother Island and that it will probably be left untouched as a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife that live there. Could New York City reclaim its title to another island in the East River and remove the fears of its residents that Empire State Developement Corporation FMV tax equivalency bills will destroy their homes?

With the issuance of full value bills for tax equivalency payments issued to three of Roosevelt Island’s four Mitchell-Lama properties could New York City reclaim Roosevelt Island citing the destruction of affordable housing as a reason to break its lease of the Island to New York State?

Certainly there are too many other factors involved which would prevent this from happening including the transition of services currently provided by RIOC to the equivalent City agencies.

But if the Island was no longer under State control than perhaps the 2005 City Council Resolution (#388) extending Mitchell-Lama tax benefits 50 years would apply as then the buildings would owe actual taxes and not “payments in lieu of taxes” which seems to be part of the current controversy whether the state intended to give the City Council the ability to affect taxes other than payments intended to go to City coffers.

Eventually when the current State-City lease runs out the fact is the Island will revert to City control and by that time it is expected each Mitchell-Lama property will have successfully exited the program. In the mean time can the City put a little pressure on Albany and remind them that the landlord does not like it when its tenant, NYS, is scarring its subtenants. Can NYC as landlord remind NYS that ultimately it holds jurisdiction over the Island and that to impose the FMV ESDC tax bills in some form violates that jurisdiction when their issuance is contrary to the well being of those residents?

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