The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) granted approval on July 24 for the Metro-North to reimburse the City of Newburgh for lease payments for the “parking and ferry landing facilities” used by the Newburgh-Beacon ferry for the period July 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020.
According to documents from the MTA’s board meeting, this is will be the fifth agreement, or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Newburgh and the MTA. The City apparently “does not have the resources to shoulder the expense of the ferry facility property lease. If Metro-North does not reimburse the city for the expense of leasing the ferry facility lands, that lease will terminate and the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry service will be interrupted.”
The City of Newburgh will be reimbursed through NYSDOT’s Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) funds. The City will be annually given $262,992 to cover its monthly lease cost. There is a zero net impact on Metro-North’s operating budget.
Back in 2004, Metro-North and the City entered into an agreement that “concern[ed] the mooring, docking, and use of the facilities in Newburgh to be used for the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry.” Under that initial agreement, the City “would lease from a private landowner the land and facilities from a private landowner to create a ferry dock and 250-space parking facility for ferry riders.”
Simultaneously, the City of Newburgh and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) entered into a contract where NYSDOT reimbursed the City for the rent payments under the lease. However, that contract later expired.
NYSDOT reimbursed the City of Newburgh for the lease payments through April 2015. An MOU from May 26, 2015 shows that Metro-North reimbursed the City of Newburgh for lease payments from May through December 2015, at a monthly rate of $21,278. A second MOU and third MOU extended this contract until mid 2017.
Then, in October of 2017, the ownership of this property changed, and the lease was extended through June 30, 2019.
The city has recently negotiated a lease extension with the new owner of this property through December 31, 2020. The documents from the board meeting indicates that this new agreement “provides for a one time 3% increase in rental payments compared to the current lease, and the first increase in rent since 2013.”
Though there has been an increase in rent, Metro-North will reimburse the City of Newburgh for the same period of time as the previous lease extensions. The extension is expected to end on December 31, 2020. The Fifth MOU also ensures that “the City and Metro-North will continue to work together in a diligent, cooperative, and time sensitive manner to identify and make available alternative locations for the Ferry Service and parking facility, should the current site not be available in the future, as well as work together to identify possible other sources of funding.”