Ontario County IDA, Finger Lakes
For years, the Ontario County IDA ignored payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreements at the Canandaigua Air Center. Although the IDA began operating the airport and took it off the tax rolls in 1995, the private buildings on the property were supposed to be paying PILOTs to offset the tax revenue lost to school districts and municipalities.
In January 2009, a banker who keeps his private jet in a hangar at the Air Center finally agreed to pay $32,000 in back payments he owed after a protracted legal battle.
Because of the lost revenue due to poor oversight by the IDA, the subsequent litigation, and another lawsuit initiated by the IDA to take a road through eminent domain to extend the airport runway, the town of Canandaigua and Ontario County’s legal fees have grown tremendously in the past several years, hurting taxpayers. And because of lax accounting practices and oversight of the IDA, it took more than a decade to notice the loss of revenue and rectify it.