POTSDAM — Following a late-meeting executive session Tuesday evening, Town Board members voted 4 to 1 in favor of a resolution to hire a Syracuse law firm to advise them regarding a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement being sought by the Missouri housing development company renovating Clarkson University’s Old Snell Hall.
The resolution, with Councilwoman Judith Rich the lone dissenting vote, will allow the town to enter into legal services with Barclay-Damon, LLP, in connection with an application from the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency for a PILOT agreement submitted by the Vecino Group for the renovation of Old Snell Hall and conversion to a state and federally assisted low-income housing project.
Information about the PILOT was not immediately available and Vecino Group President Rick Manzardo was not available to comment.
A presentation from a representative of the Vecino Group is expected next month regarding the PILOT, Town Supervisor Ann M. Carvill said following the meeting.
The board also is requiring, under the resolution, that as a condition of the Vecino Group’s application for the PILOT agreement, that the group pay for all legal services provided to the town by the law firm of Barclay-Damon and that the group place funds in escrow with one of the local taxing jurisdictions against which Barclay-Damon may submit invoices for services rendered.
“We are going into a three-way agreement to use the legal firm Barclay-Damon with the village, the Potsdam Central School and the town,” Mrs. Carvill said. “All three are uniting with the legal firm to get some information and to represent us in negotiations about the PILOT.”
She said the group was looking for the three taxing entities to agree on it and so the three taxing entities are agreeing to hire Barclay-Damon to advise them.
In May, Vecino Group was awarded $5.6 million in grant funding from the state for the renovation of Old Snell Hall into 59 affordable housing apartments.
The group commissioned a professional market study that indicated that there was sufficient demand for the 58 units. The 59th unit will house a building superintendant.
“We knew if we could go in there and make something happen there with housing, with the renovation of the theatre, with the St. Lawrence Arts in there, we knew it would be a real boost to the community and for the 59 housing units ... that’s key,” Mr. Manzardo told the Times in June.