The new owners of Greek Peak Ski resort in Virgil have asked the Cortland County Industrial Development agency for tax breaks in connection with their planned improvements to the resort, but withdrew the request due a lack of support from the board.
The new owners of Greek Peak John Meier and Marc Stemerman, who purchased the resort back in April for about $7 million dollars and announced in June that they planned to invest $4 million in a new chair lift and other upgrades has asked the I-D-A Board for a 15 year tax break worth $4.2 million dollars.
The proposal is based on the new owners continuing to invest in the resort over the term of the 15 year agreement, in addition to maintaining at least 75 jobs. Greek Peak employs over a thousand people during the winter months.
After considering the economic impact the resort has on Cortland County both in terms of jobs and tourism, the I-D-A board rejected the proposal.
According to I-D-A Director Gary VanGorder, the denial was based in part on the fact the Chemung County businessmen were able to acquire the resort with no financial assistance and have already moved forward with the planned improvements such as the new quad chair lift without taxpayer supported tax breaks.
The IDA has recently terminated previously approved payment in lieu of tax agreements for Greek Peak that were issued during the last expansion with included the $11 million dollar adventure park. The PILOTS were terminated due to a lack of payment under the previous management.
In addition, the Town of Virgil has already provided Greek Peak a significant tax break by reducing property assessments on the resort by $2.5 million. That reduction amounts to an annual property tax break of more than $85,000 or $1.2 million over 15 years. Meanwhile the resort continues to receive Empire Zone benefits. This new proposed PILOT would provide benefits above and beyond those existing incentives.
VanGorder says while the I-D-A supports Greek Peak the owners have been vague and non-committal about their planned improvements beyond those that have been announced in addition there is no projected job creation associated with this recent request making it tough to justify the costs of this tax abatement.