Morrow Follows up with the Mayor of Mount Kisco – Bedford and Pound Ridge to See Increased School Taxes Due To Mount Kisco Development

Mayor Picinich,

I have copied all of the people you sent on your Friday response.

Thank you for providing additional detail on the proposed Mt Kisco re-zoning.  We applaud your effort to revitalize Mt Kisco.  However, my concern has been and continues to be that the revitalization and redevelopment of Mt Kisco be paid for by Mt Kisco.  It should not be subsidized by the taxpayers of Bedford and Pound Ridge by way of school taxes.

In order to ensure this goal and work collaboratively with Mt Kisco, I propose that we hold a joint meeting with the Town Supervisors and Board Members from the 3 towns (Mt Kisco, Bedford and Pound Ridge) along with each of their respective tax assessors.   This will provide the opportunity for open and honest dialogue.  It will also clarify some of the concerns and misstatements that have already been made regarding this redevelopment and its possible effects on Bedford and Pound Ridge residents and taxpayers.

After reading through the suggested pages in the DGEIS, there are some points that need clarification.

The email and the DGEIS estimate that $1.24 million will be collected in new taxes for BCSD from the proposed properties.  A few points need to be clarified here.  The first is that this $1.24 million assumes that all the redevelopment of 423 new housing units occurs instantly including the Radio Circle assisted living facility.  My original email only referenced my concern over the proposed 200-250 unit apartment building in downtown.

Please note that the $1.24 million in new BCSD school taxes collected by Mt Kisco does NOT go directly to BCSD.  Bedford Central School District is a community school district.

Tax levy is determined by apportionment between the 5 towns.  Calculation: Total “Full” Value of a town/ Total “Full” Value of 5 towns = Percentage of Tax Levy.  The RFP’s estimated future taxes imply that the total “Full” Value of the projects is $85 million.   Mt Kisco has a current “Full” Value of $1,705,412,220.   The District’s “Full” Value is $8,273,156,705.  Threrefore Mt Kisco paid $24,964,781 = 20.61% of the BCSD Tax levy of $121,107,096. (Source:BCSD Budget Book)

If we add the implied “Full” Value of the projects of $85,000,000 to the “Full” Value of Mt Kisco and to the overall “Fulll” Value of the district, Mt Kisco’s new share of the tax levy is 21.42%.  This 0.81% increase in the tax levy apportionment to Mt Kisco would be $977,739 (using 2018-2019 BCSD Levy).  Not the $1.24 million stated in your email or listed in the DGEIS.

An increase of $977,739 would be welcome by the taxpayers of Bedford and Pound Ridge, because their share of the BCSD tax levy would drop from 72.62% to 71.88%.  $977,739 would pay for 31.5 children at BCSD’s current cost of $31,000 per pupil.  If your DGEIS were correct in its assumption of only 15-20 children in total for the 423 units, I would encourage all the towns to enthusiastically support these projects.

However, upon further review of the DGEIS, I am concerned that the 15-20 children estimate is quite low.

The Downtown development product of 200-250 units is proposed as a Transit Oriented Development (TOD).  On Page 89, it lists 9 “comparable” developments and bases its assumptions off of those developments and similar types.  The TOD concept is that young singles looking to move out of NYC will move to a place that is an easy commute and fill these types of units.  My concern stems from the vast difference in commuting time.  The 9 “comparable” developments have an average travel time on Metro North to Grand Central of 38 minutes.  Mt Kisco to Grand Central is 61 minutes (Source: Metro North).  All of us that commute know that there is a significant difference between 30 minute train ride and 1 hr.  People don’t move to an apartment with a 1hr train ride to work and say it is “convenient.”

The DGEIS on page 90, utilizes the specialized TOD (Transit Oriented Development) multiplier with some “real world “ adjustments to estimate between 8-13 students for the 200-250 unit development downtown.  This analysis is dubious.  The data used is between 5-8 years old for the “comparable” units (Source:DGEIS pg 89).  If the DGEIS used current data of apartments in Mt Kisco within 1 mile of the train, the conclusions would be vastly different.  It would estimate 52.5 children just from this same 200-250 unit apartment building.

Buildings within 1 mile of train MK train station and 2017-2018 BCSD enrollment and total # of units (Source: BCSD and 2018 MK Assesment Rolls):

25 Barker has 24 students with 72 units

50-70 Barker has 45 students with 233 units

100-200 Diplomat has 33 students with 226 units

40 Moore Street has 20 students with 99 units

77 Carpenter has 16 students with 100 units

Using the same methodogy as stated in the DGEIS, the Mt Kisco “real world” multiplier is 0.21.  This is 10X greater than the dubious TOD multiplier.  Calculation: 0.21 X 250 units= 52.5 new school aged children.

52.5 school aged children is 21 students more than the entire 423 unit redevelopment plan is expected to generate in BCSD tax apportionment levy increase by Mt Kisco.   21 students x $31,000 = $651,000 “uncovered.”  This $651,000 is only from the 200-250 unit building.  It does not include any of the family townhouses proposed on Lexington Avenue.

As was stated earlier, after the entire redevelopment is completed, Mt Kisco’s share of the BCSD tax levy will increase to 21.42% from 20.61%.  Bedford and Pound Ridge taxpayers would pay 71.88% of all of these “uncovered” costs from this one development.  Calculation: 71.88% x $651,000 = $467,938.

We have worked together for a number of years on the BCSD Budget Advisory Committee and I am sure you did not intend to burden Bedford and Pound Ridge taxpayers annually with $467,938 in cost for Mt Kisco’s redevelopment.  However, as the proposal is currently structured, the calculations imply that burden.

Please let me know a convenient date to have your Town Board members and tax assessors meet with those of Bedford and Pound Ridge.  I will work to ensure that the Bedford and Pound Ridge representatives attend.  I will even provide all the refreshments and pastries if it helps get them all in a room speaking.

I look forward to working with you.  A revitalized Mt Kisco is good for BCSD and Bedford, Pound Ridge, North Castle and New Castle.


Vincent Morrow