As Antares of Ormond Beach may want to become a non-profit in the future, and the city required an additional agreement, it's now turning to the county for tax exempt public bond financing approval.
The city of Ormond Beach and planned assisted living facility Antares of Ormond Beach are the middle of a "philosophical disagreement" over taxes, as Antares wishes to bypass paying up to $35 million to finance the development and construction. Because it is a for-profit establishment, it needs public approval from a corresponding governmental agency for a tax exemption— but it won't be getting it from Ormond Beach.
The city requested Antares enter into a payment in lieu of taxes agreement, which would allow the city to determine how much revenue, if any at all, it could capture should Antares could sell to or convert itself into a non-profit entity in the future.
“The clear red flag for us is that at some point this property will become a non-profit, which is fine," City Attorney Randy Hayes said. "They have a lawful right to do that.”
Antares refused to enter into a PILOT agreement with the city, and turned to Volusia County government for host approval of its sought out tax exempt public bond financing. On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the City Commission approved a resolution to present a recommendation to the county that the council follow in their footsteps and require Antares to enter into a PILOT agreement.
“We feel that’s a bit of a step too far," said Michael Woods, a Cobb Cole attorney representing Antares.
Woods said that by requiring a PILOT program, the city is characterizing any potential non-profit as a "drain on the system." He and Antares don't agree with that, he said, adding that they have the ability to move on to other jurisdictions.
Should the county approve Antares' request, the city will lose all ability to receive ad valorem tax revenue from the development if it converts to a nonprofit. Hayes said a PILOT agreement is the only way to ensure the preservation of any of that tax stream.
“This isn’t anything new or unusual," Hayes said. "These things have been used commonly for a very long time.”
Mayor Bill Partington said that, once built, Antares will utilize a lot of fire, police and EMS resources. Those are costs that the taxpayer "never seems to recover," he added.
"I think it makes sense to try to protect the taxpayer if at all possible,” Partington said.
He highlighted the fact that the wooded property, to be located at 720 W. Granada Blvd., beside the entrance to the Kings Crossing neighborhood, will be clear-cut. This project did not necessitate approval by the City Commission, as it conforms to the existing land use and zoning.
“It’s not like we have any say in that," Partington said. "As long as it means the requirement, they can do that.”