The Deer Park Library may lose valuable funding in Tanger Outlets at The Arches tax abatement extension, which was recently approved by the Babylon Industrial Development Agency.
Since The Arches opened in 2008, local municipalities such as the school district, library and fire department, have received PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) from the shopping center’s owners. However, those facilities may now lose out on such payments as Tanger’s tax abatement has been extended.
Library Director Gail Pepa said that the Babylon IDA has not given her any official figures of what the financial loss might be, but judging by payments from previous years, she estimated that the library’s revenues would be cut by about 4 percent.
, as well, said Superintendent Eva Demyen.
While the PILOTS are a gift to the local municipalities, the library has come to rely on the payments to make updates to its building, which was erected in the 1960s.
In recent years, Tanger’s payments have made it possible for the library to replace its crumbling sidewalk and windows in the children’s room. Library officials were counting on the PILOTS to make upcoming improvements to its public bathrooms and its deteriorating heating and cooling systems, however, those plans may now have to be put on hold.
“For those things to have to come out of our general fund would be next to impossible, especially with the tax cap,” Pepa said. “At first the PILOTS were almost like an insurance policy for us, but then it came down to mortar and brick as things needed to be done when you have an aging building.”
Before The Arches came along, such improvements were made through state grants, but that money is all but dried up now, she said.
Library officials have drafted a letter to Supervisor Rich Schaffer and Robert Stricoff, Chief Executive Offifer for the Babylon IDA explaining their dismay, Pepa said.
“It will be a juggling act,” Pepa said of the library’s upcoming budget seasons.
A call to the Babylon IDA was not immediately returned.