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Miner files lawsuit against COR Development for seeking tax breaks

Tom Magnarelli

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner announced that the city has filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court against the COR Development company for seeking a PILOT agreement with the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency. PILOT agreements are payments that a company makes to the development agency in exchange for tax breaks. The county agency voted yesterday in favor of giving COR a 15-year PILOT agreement to construct residential and commercial properties along Syracuse's Inner Harbor.

Miner said COR made commitments orally and in writing that they would not seek a PILOT agreement. She also said there was a failure to notify the city when COR did go to the county agency, asking for a PILOT agreement, 13 days after the city had finished transferring the Inner Harbor properties to COR.

“If they had come to us for tax benefits through a PILOT agreement, we would have negotiated a commensurate community benefit which in all likelihood would have been jobs and job training,” Miner said.

Jobs in which a certain percentage would have to go to city residents and minority or women-owned businesses.

The county development agency voted in favor of the PILOT agreement Tuesday morning, but a large crowd in the audience was against it.

Pat Hogan is on the board of the county agency and said the project would create a whole new city neighborhood and add tax revenue from an area that was not generating any.

“I believe there was a concerted effort by the city administration to paint this in an unfavorable light,” Hogan said.

The project is estimated to bring 1,000 construction jobs, create 500 permanent jobs and COR would be required to hire labor from within a 10-county area. The 15-year agreement would give COR tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks but staff at the county agency said it could possibly bring in $100 million in tax revenue.

COR now has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.