The Beacon reported last week on an estimate discussed at a pre-council meeting which put the cost of preserving the Coles School at $9 million. A document obtained by the editors and a Newsday article published today put the estimate at over $9.4 million.
This increases the total cost of retaining and restoring the Coles School to over $11 million, not including interest. The City will pay about $63 thousand in interest on Coles School Bonds in 2015 alone, according to to budget documents.
Some commenters questioned our reporting of Councilman Anthony Gallo’s intention to retain ownership of the property and restore it to a “public” use; however, this reporting is confirmed by David Olson, writing for Newsday today:
Councilman Anthony Gallo, who is challenging Spinello in the Sept. 10 Republican primary and also went to Coles, envisions a cultural center, theater or other public use.
“Regardless of the cost, my expectation is to keep the Coles School as a city asset,” he said. “That includes the Coles School facility and the grounds surrounding the Coles School.”
Gallo said he supports creating a nonprofit organization to raise money for renovations.
That expectation appears unreasonable, as reflected in the statement of Michael Stanco, a Locust Valley real estate agent: “no one’s going to pay $9 million.” Even if a nonprofit raises the $9.4 million to renovate the Coles School, taxpayers will be on the hook for about $2.2 million in principal and interest on the bonds.
In our previous dispatch on this subject, we juxtaposed Mr. Gallo’s statements on the Coles School with the rationale for his symbolic vote against the appointment of a public relations officer.
In April, Gallo criticized the appointment of a public relations officer salaried at $60 thousand because he wrote, “the finances of the City of Glen Cove are in disarray.” He continued, “this position is a luxury this city simply cannot afford.”
Taxpayers will pay about $63 thousand in interest on Coles School bonds this year alone. Preserving the Coles School as a “city asset” and restoring it to public use would cost at least about $11.6 million.
Gallo still promises to “cut waste”, “pay down debt and lower property taxes.”