The Town of Utica is pulling out of a previously signed Memorandum of Understanding for partial funding of the downtown Mohawk Valley Health System parking garage.
That’s according to Anthony Picente, director of Oneida County.
The memorandum of understanding signed in 2017 was not binding, but outlined the sources of funding for the $ 40.5 million parking lot that would be used primarily by the hospital, but would also be open to members of the public doing business in the downtown, going to dinner or attending events.
According to the memorandum of understanding between Utica and Oneida County, the city would fund 40% of the garage’s remaining debt service – then estimated at around $ 300,000 per year for 20 years – with the county covering around 500 $ 000 over this period.
“Frankly, we were delayed on this project, not only because of the pandemic that delayed everything, but also because a lot of these things should have been done months ago,” Picente said. This agreement that I sent to [Oneida County Board of Legislators] was supposed to visit them in November, but the council kept asking, “Where is the town of Utica?” And… I couldn’t get a direct answer… so I was told that the council had no appetite to do this project, ”he told WIBX First News with Keeler on Friday morning.
Expressing his frustration at the change in leadership, Picente said the county must now absorb Utica’s share.
”Have been [Oneida County] the one who suffered the loss of income [during the pandemic] – we are the ones who paid for the COVID-19 tests and the vaccination PODs, we are still spending money on it. We lost sales tax revenue, lost gaming revenue, lost resort tax revenue, and spent millions of dollars on PPE for all levels of government, and stayed open every day. ”
This 2017 MOA also predicted that the area would receive approximately $ 10 million in URI funding from New York State, of which $ 3 million was earmarked for repairs to the Kenney parking garage in Utica. However, the county executive said he has since returned to the state to have that $ 3 million redirected away from the Kennedy garage, and that it will now be used for the downtown hospital parking lot. city.
Additionally, Picente explained a further fold in the parking lot ‘dilemma’, saying he was aware of at least three lawsuits filed against the county by landlords who are in the footprint of the hospital parking lot. , but who do not wish to sell their land.
Officials planned to take control of these properties using a prominent estate.
The calls for comment from the mayor of Utica, Robert Palmieri, had not been returned at the time of this publication.