Newsday is reporting that the new owners of three Long Island, NY assisted living communities have dropped their request to extend the tax abatement agreement they had already secured upon closing last month. The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) had extended the agency’s PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program to developer Engel Burman before the purchase of the new centers was complete. Engel Burman made their purchase of the communities conditional upon receiving a PILOT extension
Community activists learned of the proposed sale and complained the tax benefits would harm the villages where the assisted living communities were by decreasing funds to the schools. They said the shortfall would then be made up by the residents whose taxes have increased sharply already in the last year. Other activists jumped on the low number of full-time jobs the AL communities would provide and their pay rates. Locals attended the public hearings prior to the sale in such large numbers that the press picked up the story and the bad press evidently pushed Engel Burman to end its PILOT agreement. Attracting development projects was the reason for the PILOT program’s creation, one official said, not to subsidize ongoing businesses.
The issue of subsidies for senior housing will continue in the years ahead. In this case, the subsidies pitted a senior care business (and by extension, its residents) against the still-working (neighborhood homeowners) and the young (school children).