Tuesday, February 7, 2017

About the Elks Club and Tax Exempt Properties

In November, Gossips linked to an article in the Register-Star that revealed the Hudson Elks Club was one of a very few Elks lodges the Northeast that did not pay property taxes. This morning, the Register-Star reports that situation has changed: "Elks to pay property taxes in 2017."

Anticipating a question sure to come from a least one Gossips reader, I took a look at the "Wholly Exempt" section of the tax rolls for Hudson. (Although the link to the tax rolls on the City of Hudson website is for some reason not working, anyone can view the tax rolls at the Columbia County website.) The "Wholly Exempt" section begins on page 390 and runs through page 432--a total of 43 pages and approximately 258 properties. Included among the wholly exempt properties are all the things you'd expect to find: all the property owned by the City of Hudson (more than fourteen pages of it), Columbia County (almost three pages), the State of New York (the boat launch and the correctional facility), Columbia Memorial Hospital, and the Hudson City School District. In addition, there is the Firemen's Home, the U.S. Post Office, all the houses of worships, and various buildings belonging to such not-for-profits as the Hudson Opera House, Time & Space Limited, Operation Unite, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Then there is the Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency (HCDPA), whose list of properties, primarily vacant land, covers five pages. There are also entities that provide low-income housing: Hudson Homesteads has ten properties on the list; Housing Resources of Columbia County, now known as Galvan Housing Resources, has four. 

Of interest is the number of times the name Galvan appears in the "Wholly Exempt" section of the tax rolls. Seven properties are listed as owned by Galvan Asset Management: 325 and 327 State, 252 State, 17 North Third, 313 State (all properties formerly owned by Housing Resources) and 538-540 and 542-544 Columbia (the Columbia Opportunities building). One property--the former Hudson Armory now the location of the Hudson Area Library, the Hudson Senior Center, and Perfect Ten--is on the "Wholly Exempt" list as owned by an entity called Galvan Civic. The Galvan Initiatives Foundation has two properties on the list: 400 State Street (the former Hudson Area Library) and 40 South Third Street (the Salvation Army building).


  1. A mail-order ordination looks more attractive by the minute. (Together: Amen.)

  2. Thanks Carole. So many questions. I recall once seeing a list of NY towns/cities ranked by percentage of exempt properties and even then Hudson was ranked fairly high. It would also be interesting to know what criteria there are for receiving such "wholly exempt" stati (or is it holy exempt?). And what chunk of Hudson property is making "Payments In Lieu of Taxes," which is a partial exemption that nonetheless has significant impact on the tax rolls. Inquiring minds want to know. --pm

  3. Does the Hudson common council have the power to determine which properties are exempt from tax or is the power to change these exemptions found in the Columbia County Council? Perhaps at the state level?

    1. The assessor makes the determination about tax exemption, but it's not done arbitrarily. There are requirements to be met to get an exemption.

    2. Going by the R-S story, some matters are at the discretion of the assessor, such as whether or not to seek last year's taxes from the previously exempted Elks Club.

      According to the R-S story, the City is only barred from collecting 2015's taxes, which must make last year's uncollected $14,000 (the total according to the story) a gift from the City.