To the editor,
Mayor Miner’s new $175/hour PR consultant has his work cut out for him on many fronts, none more so than in dealing with the mayor’s hypocritical messages about Economic Development.
When things don’t go her way we hear things about her “profound disappointment in a failed economic strategy that enriches developers and leaves the rest of our community behind.” But when it’s the Mayor who is doling out the rich benefits then she can be the most generous politician in town. This includes her recent hire of a political consultant from Albany to the tune of $175 per hour. The monies to pay this consultant are drawn from the Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency (SURA). SURA’s stated mission is to “acquire and dispose of properties in a fashion that is consistent with the identified need of neighborhood residents for better housing.” How does such a clandestine hire serve that purpose?
The developer of the new Marriott Hotel in Armory Square asked the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency for support for its $27 million project—and support they got. In 2012 Mayor Miner signed an EIGHTEEN-YEAR PILOT agreement and to sweeten the deal, she chipped in an extra $500,OOO-cash for the developer.
Fast forward to 2015. The developer completed the project, opened the hotel and very quickly sold it for $42 million dollars to an out of town owner. The new owner pocketed the tax breaks, the developer pocketed the multi-million dollar profit and we were left with one question; what happened to the $500,000 cash we gave them? Miner complains about the number of tax exempt properties in the city, yet gave a wealthy investment fund massive tax breaks.
Perhaps the most startling fact is one that has been overlooked. In 2008, the Driscoll administration promised that if the hotel were sold within 20 years, the developers would return the $500,000 to the City.’ When Mayor Miner consented to the sale this past summer no one mentioned the $500,000.
It is easy for Miner to say she is against tax breaks for “rich” developers, but all you have to do is check the facts. Meanwhile the number of those in poverty in this City continues to grow, and monies that should be used constructively to eradicate this issue is siphoned off to wealthy developers who take the money and run.
What Mayor Miner says and what Mayor Miner does are two very different things.
Submitted by: Alfonso Davis