At Wednesday's Common Council Legal Committee meeting, city attorney Cheryl Roberts dismissed objections brought by The Valley Alliance that the City was giving away, for fifty years, its right to eminent domain. Among other things, she argued that the City of Hudson would never be able to afford to take the property by eminent domain. John Mason reported yesterday in the Register-Star: "Roberts characterized the notion as absurd. 'The port is too expensive to eminent domain,' she said, suggesting it might be in the neighborhood of $10 million. 'This property will never revert back to Hudson because we've exercised eminent domain. It's too expensive.'"
It's been suggested that Roberts' speculation about the value of the property was inappropriate, since, if the City of Hudson should ever find the political will to take over the port, a city attorney should not be on record as setting its value. But Roberts' suggestion that Holcim's Hudson holdings are worth $10 million raises another question: Is the City collecting property tax on $10 million from Holcim?
Holcim has a history of grieving its property assessment. According to Council president Don Moore, the Common Council went into executive session on February 11 to discuss the Article 7 that had been filed by Holcim protesting the assessment of its property. Yesterday, Sam Pratt did some research to find out Holcim's current assessment and discovered that Holcim's holdings within the city limits of Hudson total 116.6 acres (including the 9 acres to be conveyed to the City of Hudson), which are recorded as three parcels in the tax rolls. The total value currently placed on the three parcels is $3,220,600. That taxable value--a third of what Roberts estimated the price of the property would be--will be reduced by whatever value is set on the 9 waterfront acres being conveyed to the City.