Amherst IDA Offers Dubious Tax Breaks for Uniland Hotel

Aug. 4, 2018

At the July 20 AIDA meeting (Amherst Industrial Development Agency), the board voted 6 to 1 to give $1.2 million in tax breaks to Uniland for a hotel they are planning to build on prime public parkland near the Northtown Center. The parkland location was granted after three members on the last Amherst Town Board approved a lop-sided, outrageous lease deal that pays the town a mere $52,000 annually.

Not satisfied with that taxpayer largesse, Uniland went to the IDA trough for yet another gift from the taxpayers in the form of $1.2 million in tax breaks. The IDA is tasked, by law, to work for the benefit of residents, not to provide welfare for wealthy developers. When the developers pay less taxes, the residents pay more.

Uniland’s rationale for such “welfare” is that their hotel, as opposed to the multiple hotels in the immediate area, will be a tourist destination and will be wildly successful. Nevertheless, they expect the taxpayers to subsidize $1.2 million for their business venture, or, they will not proceed. One wonders about their sincerity and motive when an attached condition results in siphoning more money from the wallets of Amherst’s taxpayers.

Just as the Buffalo Billion has been investigated for fraud and dishonest practices, this whole project needs to be questioned and scrutinized. Let’s begin with asking why Amherst is allowing a private building, sinfully ugly, on prime land, owned by the people, and had only one response to the RFP (request for proposal)?

Judy Ferraro

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