IDA approves Wal-Mart Distribution PILOT


By Patsy Nicosia

The Schoharie County Industrial Development Agency has approved a new PILOT for Sharon Springs' Wal-Mart Distribution Center.
Though the Village of Sharon Springs must still sign off on the deal, the village, Town of Sharon, and Sharon Springs Central School have all unofficially given it their blessing.
The PILOT-payment in lieu of taxes-has Wal-Mart paying $975, 000 each year for the next 10 years.
The Distribution Center is assessed at $59 million, which means its tax bill would be $2.9 million annually without a PILOT, according to Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry.
The 10-year deal replaces the 20-year PILOT set up when the Distribution Center was built in 1995 which has Wal-Mart paying $120,000 annually.
Though Seth Many of Sharon Springs argued that one of the richest corporations in America-Wal-Mart-doesn't need any tax breaks at a public hearing on the PILOT in December, he was the only one to oppose it.
Both Sharon Springs Mayor Doug Plummer and Sharon Supervisor Sandra Manko said that without the PILOT, they were afraid the Distribution Center-and its jobs-could be lured away with a better deal.
"In the end, it all came down to jobs," said Ron Filmer, IDA CEO. "That and having a relatively stable business there for the tax base."
The PILOT calls for Wal-Mart to maintain 500 jobs with a minimum of 350.
If the number falls below that, Mr. Filmer said, there will be a "call back" or renegotiation of the deal.