As New Rochelle’s 2011 Mayoral Election Looms, Bramson Ratchets Up Phony “net benefit” Claims for Downtown Development (Part I)

Written By: Anthony Galletta

Eighteen months ago, Mayor Bramson touted a $2 million surplus from New Rochelle development on his bi-weekly radio show on WVOX. I challenged Bramson on air and on Talk of the Sound; he NEVER responded to verify his claim so I challenged Bramson again. For various reasons, Mayor Bramson was not on air for a total of six weeks, missing three consecutive shows. Bramson was humiliated because he had the wrong number of school children from Avalon 1 & 2 in his computations. I applied the exact number, obtained through FOIL, in my calculations while the Mayor of New Rochelle had “official” misinformation.

This past Tuesday on his bi-weekly show Mayor Bramson updated his figures and now proclaims a $7.5 million net benefit from New Rochelle development. Bramson couldn’t substantiate his original figures and the revised figures amount to nothing more than political propaganda in an election year. Using the current 2011 tax levy Avalon 1 & 2 should pay $10,042,821 in total for City, School & Library taxes. The breakdown is:

City tax $2,136,444
School tax $7,728,762
Library tax $177,615
TOTAL $10,042,821*

This is a snapshot, only one year, of a 30-year tax abatement that will handcuff New Rochelle’s future for our children and grandchildren. These bare bones figures, which do not include the impact of the two parking structures, the number of students in the New Rochelle School System (awaiting a FOIL response) or the added strain on police, fire, sanitation and other city services. I am not including abatements granted to New Roc City (both current & pending) or Trump/Cappelli.

With a $10 million tax burden plus the number of school children on the taxpayer, Mayor Bramson would have to prove a gross benefit of about $20 million to realize a net $7.5 million benefit.

Bramson touts a $7.5 million net benefit from New Rochelle development and New Rochelle utilized $4.5 million in one-time revenue from the sale of Avalon 1 to balance its 2011 budget yet New Rochelle has no money to remove snow properly or to maintain two bathrooms at the New Rochelle train station and if New Rochelle doesn’t receive a SAFER Grant six firefighters face termination come June.

If you believe Bramson’s tomfoolery you may be interested in purchasing a bridge in Brooklyn.

*Figures calculated from tax information received from the New Rochelle assessor’s office & property values on the New Rochelle Property Portal

This article is the first article in a series.

6 thoughts on “As New Rochelle’s 2011 Mayoral Election Looms, Bramson Ratchets Up Phony “net benefit” Claims for Downtown Development (Part I)”

  1. We appreciate your interest in the truth
    Please continue to inform the public about the truth in downtown (although I have been told those south of Main Street call in uptown). The truth is always the hardest to convey when you have people in high offices twisting the facts. Thanks, Anthony.

  2. A direct result of a failed IDA
    The reason Noam is able to fudge the numbers is because his handmaiden, Maryann, is chair of the IDA. The New Rochelle IDA was cited by the State Comptroller for not verifying benefits and jobs. The IDA does a dismal job and is in the top three when it comes to tax dollars spent to create one new job. Don’t fear Noam has a new hand picked Ivy League candidate to replace the retiring puppet. How objective can the IDA be with Councilwoman Maryann Sussman as the chairperson and City Manager Chuck Strome, III as the voting sergeant at arms?

  3. poor Noam
    Why is Anthony alway,s picking on me? Vote them all out this is the year to do it New Rochelle.

  4. Bramson Economic Development “New Math” Doesn’t Tally
    Observers of New Rochelle politics have become accustomed to Noam “Find Me a Higher Political Office” Bramson flogging phony economic development schemes. The somnolent local daily press and what passes for broadcast TV news coverage have always allowed the widest of “berths” to his illusory progress claims in carefully staged media events and windy state-of-the-city presentations. His math just doesn’t add up. Never has.

    Have you ever considered his economic “team’s” sales tax projections? They regularly and repeatedly count on phantom consumers spending phantom dollars at phantom retailers. The actual annual proceeds always fall short, way short of budgeted projections. It sometimes seems as if City Hall swizzles its business theory/practices from the same fountain as our Community-Organizer-In Chief sitting at Washington, DC.

    But what else are we to expect from a member of the professional political office-seeking class? This is what such careerists typically do. In their minds (and in the minds of the loyal lever-pulling automatons of New Rochelle City Council districts 5 and 6) this is what they were put on this earth to do; compose economic development dream-scenes, and when the fantasies don’t come true, blame the nearest capitalist or taxpayer, or the free market system in general. Serious-minded observers should not be surprised when left-wing devotees of fiscal stimulus and “public investment” do and say whatever is necessary to buttress their statist objectives; and fatten the coffers and enrich the political action funds of cooperative builders and sympathetic merchants (the “developmental-industrial complex?”) in the process.

    No; what is really troubling about these financial flights of fancy is the willing participation by City Hall’s supposed professional staff; that is, the City Manager’s office and the Department of Finance and their respective heads. In order to comprehend their departure from professional standards and common concepts of impartiality, all one has to do is to look at the presentation concocted by City Hall staff during last year’s budgetary “silly season.” If you attended any of the public hearings, citizens-to-be-heard sessions or financial “fashion shows” offered to neighborhood associations and political clubs, you most likely were treated to some elements of a carefully composed Power Point presentation represented in full on the City Hall web site.

    At one such dog-and pony show offered at the American Legion hall, the finance director offered the typical justifications for our financial woes; unexpected volume of commercial certiorari proceedings; numerous residential tax hearings (3900 or so just last year); depressed real estate market; global, national, regional recession; with statistical graphs/pie charts made available if illustrations were needed – absolute dollar and proportional budgetary impacts offered to any questioner.

    However, when the director was asked for comparable graphs/pie charts/dollar figures and/or relative budgetary impact analyses concerning the effect of real estate/sales tax abatements/zoning variances/memoranda of understanding or other fruits of City Council or IDA (Industrial Development Agency) “deals” made for the benefit of favored developers, all the bureaucrat could offer was an enfeebled “Oh, I don’t have those figures. No dollar amount or relative impact on the budget.” Just like a politician however, he did volunteer that New Rochelle gains “many intangible” and tangible benefits from these projects.

    But, he was asked, doesn’t New Rochelle benefit when homeowners get a break on taxes? By such means, aren’t common taxpayers, by saving a little money to provide for the maintenance of their abodes, contributing to the economic welfare of the community and creating a more pleasant-looking and prosperous-looking community? Further, he was asked, doesn’t the tax certiorari process enable some of our economically endangered local, family-owned businesses to remain viable and survive against national, big-box retailers? To this, the bureaucrat had no response.

    So; one can accept a politician acting like a politician. All politicians do THAT. But what is the harried New Rochelle citizen/stakeholder to make of his supposed non-partisan financial/managerial professionals parroting the excuses of their political-class overseers and bosses?

    Has political advantage-seeking reached this far? Have commonly accepted standards of financial and administrative independence been so compromised? Who will stand up for budgetary integrity and managerial competence if not the professionals historically entrusted with these responsibilities?

    1. All for the rich
      Don’t you get it? The leadership in NR thinks that everyone is loaded and they forgot what it is to survive on a middleclass income. In fact, they think the middleclass earn $100K a year+. Most of us poor schmucks are lucky to make half that. Try keeping up with the cost of living in NR on $50K annually. It’s borderline ghetto. They know it overthere, they just don’t care.

  5. Our mayor and his numbers!!!
    This is why we ( the people of New Rochelle )have to watch, and ask about everything from city hall.
    This is an election year ,and alot bull is going to be tossed.

    Develpopers are sitting like vultures on a fence just waiting for hungry politicians who need $$ and some headlines.

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