Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements are used to incentivize economic development in areas where it otherwise might not occur. Generally, under a PILOT agreement, a property owner makes fixed payments over a defined period of time rather than pay property taxes. PILOT payments are typically lower than what the property owner would pay if taxed normally.
In a letter to the Town Board dated March 16, 2021 (link), the Board of Education claimed that PILOT agreements are negotiated and controlled by Westchester County and Westchester Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs), and neither the Town nor CCSD would have much say in the matter. This is not true.
As a matter of policy, when it comes to negotiating a PILOT agreement, Westchester County does not play a role. Instead, the County allows the municipality where the project will be located to negotiate the terms of any PILOT agreements. Bridget Gibbons, the County’s Director Economic Development, has explained the County’s policy as follows:
“It is the policy of the County IDA to defer the negotiation of PILOT benefits to the municipality (City/Town/Village) where the Project is to be located. We leave it to their discretion to determine whether they wish to include the school district in their negotiations. Some communities do, others do not.”
The Town of New Castle does not have an IDA and, as previously discussed in public meetings, has no plans to offer PILOTs to developers to incentivize construction in the Chappaqua hamlet.