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Pearl River Schools Get $1 Million in Olympus Settlement

The money comes from a broken Payments in Lieu of Taxes agreement after a two-year negotiation.

The Pearl River School District learned it will receive more than $1 million after nearly two years of negotiations with Olympus Surgical & Industrial America Inc..

The Pearl River Board of Education learned of the incoming money Tuesday morning and announced it at its regular public meeting Tuesday night in Pirate Cove.

The 65,000-square-foot complex in Orangeburg shut down in 2009, leaving Rockland before the company's Payments In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement was up. PILOT agreements are “Federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable Federal lands within their boundaries,” according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“It encourages companies to move into the area,” said Sandra Cokeley, Pearl River School District's director of quality and community relations.

The Board learned of the incoming money Tuesday morning.

Originally, the district was scheduled to get $825,691 in the agreement, but because Olympus wasn’t in Orangburg for the duration of their agreement, more than $180,000 of interest was added to the district’s payout, according to Cokeley. With interest, the district will receive a bit more than $1,000,000.

The board briefly discussed the incoming money at Tuesday’s meeting, saying they’re not sure what it will go toward yet. Cokeley said the money is coming in at a good time, when the board will have to start discussing next year’s budget. Board of Education President Michael Clohessy said the board would need to keep in mind that this will be a one-time payment, however, and to be careful where to use the money.

“A lot of school districts don’t have that much money and are seeing cuts, and this will be a nice thing to fall back on,” he said.

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