Friday, September 27, 2013 / by Rummy Dhanoa
|Empire City Refi Deal Nets Yonkers $1.6 Million|
YONKERS --The Yonkers Industrial Development Agency (YIDA) announced on Aug. 13 that the City of Yonkers will receive $3.673 million from Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway as part of a refinancing package approved by the agency.
Seeking to take advantage of current low interest rates, Empire City is refinancing its $325 million overall debt, including its most recent $40-million expansion, which includes a modern 35,000 square-foot gaming floor and two new restaurants, Dan Rooney’s Café and Bar and Pinch. The expansion created 100 construction jobs and 200 permanent casino jobs.
Under the plan approved by the YIDA, Empire City Casino will pay $523,000 in previously-agreed upon sales tax reimbursements, $3 million in additional payments to be paid to the city’s general fund over two years, $500,000 to the YIDA for economic development efforts, and up to $150,000 in materials or cash for improvements to the Coyne Park Senior and Community Center located near the casino.
“This is a great deal for Yonkers taxpayers,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, who chairs the YIDA. “The city is actually getting more money than if we had done nothing at all.”
Mayor Spano said he is encouraging Empire City to move forward with Phase II of its long-term expansion plan. “By refinancing, Empire City is going to be in a better position for future expansions, which will bring more jobs and expand the City’s tax base.”
Under the agreement, the YIDA is providing Empire City with a mortgage recording tax exemption. In return, Empire City will pay the City of Yonkers a sum significantly higher than what the city would have received from the mortgage recording tax.
Absent the agreement through YIDA, Empire City would have paid the City $1.575 million in mortgage tax payments plus the $523,000 in previously agreed upon sales tax reimbursements, for a total of $2.098 million. Thus, the net additional payment to the City of Yonkers is $1.575 million, city officials stated.
“Empire City continues to invest in Yonkers,” said Tim Rooney, Jr., general counsel at Empire City. “As the city’s largest private employer with nearly 1,400 employees representing 14 unions, we understand the need for economic development and are committed to making the investments necessary to ensure viability and job growth. The continued support of Mayor Spano and the Yonkers IDA will ensure that remains possible.”
Mayor Spano said every additional dollar the city takes in will help ease the burden on taxpayers as the city continues to face long-term budget deficits. “Next year the city faces a projected $86-million deficit,” said Mayor Spano. “While $1.575 million won’t solve all our problems, it will certainly go a long way toward helping to plug future budget gaps and easing the burden on already-stressed taxpayers.”
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