Ulster County Legislature approves purchase of old pension – Daily Freeman
KINGSTON, NY – Ulster County lawmakers on Wednesday approved a resolution to purchase the former Elizabeth Manor boarding house in Midtown for short-term emergency housing.
The resolution, approved by a 21-2 vote, authorizes the county to pay $700,000 to purchase the 5,732 square foot building, which was used as a boarding house until a fire in 2020.
Funding for the purchase will come from the $34.4 million American Rescue Plan Act grant the county received.
At a press conference last month announcing the planned purchase, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said that once refurbished the building will provide short-term emergency supportive housing for up to at 35, although he said he expected families with children to predominate. occupants of the house.
Administration officials said the owner was asking for $725,000. The county offered $675,000 and the seller countered with an offer of $700,000, which the county agreed to pay. Officials said there are approximately $40,000 in back taxes owed to the city, which, along with any liens or charges, will be paid before the closing.
Ryan said it would cost around $1 million to renovate the now vacant home. Kingston Mayor Steve Noble said the city would inject $500,000 from the city’s federal stimulus grant to help with renovations and State Senator Michelle Hinchey secured $100,000 in state funds for the project.
Lawmaker Joseph Maloney opposed the purchase, saying the county was paying too much for what he called a ‘dilapidated building invested in mold’ to a landowner he said was behind on his taxes .
I have a lot of issues with that,” said Maloney, D-Saugerties.
Maloney said he is concerned about removing properties from tax rolls in an effort to create affordable housing without having a clear understanding of what is driving the housing crisis.
“We need to understand not only how bad our renting, home buying and housing situation is,” he said, suggesting in part that immigration and the proliferation of short-term rentals could be at the root of the crisis.
Ryan said the need for affordable housing – already at a crisis level before the pandemic – was exacerbated as people willing to pay higher housing prices moved into the area. He said pensions, in particular, have become more scarce as the region gentrifies.
Lawmaker John Gavaris also expressed concern about the purchase, wondering, like Maloney, whether the county really did its “due diligence” before purchasing the property.
“I don’t think there’s enough information out there,” said Gavaris, D-Ellenville. “I think the cost of the renovations will far exceed what was estimated.”
Gavaris said spending whatever amount of money the county wants to buy and renovate a property that will only meet “a fraction” of the county’s needs seems “insane.”
“Looks like we’re almost launching [the money] away,” he said.
Editor’s note: This story was updated March 19, 2022, 6:25 p.m. to correct a quote from lawmaker Joseph Maloney regarding the condition of the former Elizabeth Manor boarding house.