Saturday, February 25, 2012

Of Assessments and Taxes

On February 23, the lawsuit brought by the Hudson Property Owners Coalition (HPOC) against the City of Hudson, the City Assessor, the Board of Assessment Review, the Hudson City School District, and Columbia County, alleging that Hudson's 2010 assessment roll was illegal and invalid and should be declared void, was dismissed in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, on a motion from the respondents. 

Two days earlier, on February 21, the Common Council passed a resolution authorizing a property tax settlement with the owners of Hudson Fabrics. Hudson Fabrics, too, had brought a lawsuit against the City of Hudson, challenging their 2011 assessment, which set the value of their property at more than $2 million. The property, at the far north end of Second Street, in the midst of what had at one time been a county dump, has been on the market for some time. Recently, Hudson Fabrics entered into an agreement to sell the property for $770,000--a little more than a third of its assessed value. Approximately $104,780 was owed in back taxes, including interest and penalties, and the City had placed a lien on the property. In the proposed settlement, Hudson Fabrics would pay $85,000 for full satisfaction for the tax year 2011. The settlement was a condition of sale of the property to Premier Brands of America, the company that plans to open a facility there that will create twenty-five new jobs.  

The resolution authorizing the settlement passed but not unanimously. First Ward Alderman Larissa Parks voted nay; Third Ward Alderman Chris Wagoner abstained. In the discussion that preceded the vote, Wagoner commented that, considering the out of line assessments in Hudson in recent years, he feared this settlement was just the tip of the iceberg. When asked by Gossips why she voted to reject the settlement, Parks explained that she believed people needed to pay what they owed in taxes even if the assessment on which the taxes were based was in question.             


  1. As a member of the school board, I see tons of these property tax boondoggles. And it's so ironic -- tragically so -- that an assessment that even the mayor pronounced "flawed" was allowed to stand. The other not-so-funny fact is that while the appeals court can wash its hands of the injustice, the school district, which was a defendant in the original suit,has been shelling out thousands of dollars in reimbursements to property owners who filed separate grievances -- much like the Hudson Fabrics petition -- to rectify the "flawed" assessments. So, in winning, the school district actually lost. And we continue to lose as long as our assessment system, which includes subsidizing corporations with Payments in Lieu of Taxes, is broken. --peter meyer

  2. And why is it that the assessor who caused this problem is still in office?

  3. Clearly the "reval" done most recently by the Assessor from his office was deeply, disturbingly flawed. It raises too many questions to pose here in a reply but they are somewhat obvious, too, I think. That the Hudson Fabrics property was over assessed by $1.4m is simply staggering. If there's a reason why the current $2.1m assessment is permitted to continue after this -- forcing both the City and the new owner to incur needless expense -- I'd like to hear it directly from the assessor or the City Attorney.