School board favors tax relief for UPAC
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.