Looking for more tax breaks

Updated: 07/18/2014 6:15 PM
Created: 07/18/2014 6:13 PM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen

The past of the Medley Center mall's owner may have caught up with him as officials in Erie County consider tax breaks for a development there.

Scott Congel is back at it, but in a different county. He is seeking tax breaks for a development in Erie County.

The Erie County Executive has been keeping a close eye on developments with the Medley Centre. He said they would have real reservations about giving any tax breaks to a developer that doesn't live up to his agreements.

Adam Bello, Irondequoit Town Supervisor, said, "I think that's a reasonable approach. I think it's rational. And again, you just point to our experience here."

That was the reaction from Irondequoit Town Supervisor Adam Bello upon hearing the firm stand taken by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz when it comes to giving more tax breaks for developer Scott Congel. Congel, who owns the Medley Centre, is now requesting 30 year tax abatement for a major development project he has planned for West Seneca, NY.   

Poloncarz says they’d never offer tax breaks for that long a period of time, but also says the history of problems at Medley Centre would be a major consideration.

Poloncarz said,"If the history of the developer is one that they don't pay their taxes on time, they don't pay their PILOT agreement on time, then that will be held negatively against him."

News10NBC were there in May at the Erie County Office Building when Congel met with Polancarz to make his initial pitch for the project there.

Scott Congel said, "We're just in the preliminary stages here as it relates to this project. We have a number of projects going on out there."

Even before that meeting, Poloncarz says he had been researching Congel's history with the stalled Medley Centre development and Monroe County's decision to terminate Congel's tax deal for failing to make timely payments. While Bello won't offer advice to taxpayers in Erie County, he did point to his own town as a cautionary example.   

Bello said, "I think a close examination of the history is a good approach and good thing.  I think you look at what happened here in Irondequoit and what we're still dealing with." 

Poloncarz says Congel has not made a formal proposal for tax breaks, but that the informal request he made was to keep taxes frozen at their current rate over the 30 years. Again, that's a non-starter, according to the Erie County Executive. We did try to reach Congel for comment, but were unsuccessful.

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