School board fa­vors tax relief for UPAC

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­

KINGSTON >> The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion has en­dorsed a pro­posal for the Ul­ster Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter to re­ceive tax relief if it tem­po­rar­ily be­comes a for­profit op­er­a­tion amid up­com­ing ren­o­va­tions.

In ap­prov­ing the plan at their Wed­nes­day night meet­ing, board mem­bers praised UPAC as a cul­tural re­source.

“UPAC is re­ally part of the resur­gence of our com­mu­nity,” Trustee Suzanne Jordan said. “I think ... what they can do for our com­mu­nity and for our stu­dents.”

UPAC is at 601 Broad­way in Mid­town Kingston.

The Bar­davon 1869 Opera House, which op­er­ates UPAC, is look­ing to make $4.7 mil­lion worth of im­prove­ments at UPAC. A fund for the work has $3.3 mil­lion in it, and the Bar­davon is seek­ing the ad­di­tional $1.4 mil­lion from a pri­vate, for-profit in­vestor.

Bar­davon Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Chris Silva has said

that in re­turn for the in­vest­ment, the for-profit en­tity would be­come a 99 per­cent owner of UPAC and be able to ac­cess state and fed­eral his­toric tax cred­its for at least five years as part of a fed­eral pro­gram.

Silva says he has met with the Ul­ster County In­dus­trial Devel­op­ment Agency, which must for­mally grant any prop­erty tax relief, and with mem­bers of the three tax­ing en­ti­ties that must sign on to the plan: the school board, the Kingston Com­mon Coun­cil and the Ul­ster County Leg­is­la­ture.

Kingston school dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Padalino said Wed­nes­day that the re­quested tax relief wouldn’t bur­den the dis­trict’s tax­pay­ers be­cause UPAC, a not-for­profit op­er­a­tion, has been non­tax­able all along.

“The board ap­prov­ing doesn’t change our tax levy at all be­cause it cur­rently isn’t even on the roll any­way,” Padalino said. “It doesn’t shift any taxes to any­one else. This is just a lim­ited time for them to be

able to part­ner [with an in­vestor] ... to make any im­prove­ments they have to make.”

And, school Trustee James Shaugh­nessy noted, “as part of the over­all pack­age, there’s a ir­rev­o­ca­ble agree­ment for the pri­vate part­ner to sell the 99 per­cent [own­er­ship stake] back to the non-profit en­tity after a pe­riod of ... five years.”

The planned work at UPAC in­cludes heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing im­prove­ments, ad­di­tional rest rooms and up­grades to alarms and emer­gency light­ing. The heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing im­prove­ments would al­low UPAC to op­er­ate year-round.

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