Saturday, November 12, 2016

Breaking News from the Register-Star

At midnight, the Register-Star posted an article online by reporter Nick Olivari that reveals the Hudson Elks Lodge's exemption from school tax and property tax is a something of an aberration: "Elks $14,000 property tax break." The article quotes David Carr, past national president of the Elks, who currently oversees lodges in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island: "[Elks lodges] are IRC 501(c)(8) Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and exempt from income taxes. They are not exempt from property taxes unless the communities want to exempt them." 



  1. To all residents of the City of Hudson,

    Recently, I had spoken to Nick Olivari regarding the Elks Lodge Non-profit exemption eligibility. I had told him that I would definitely look into this further. I have received additional legal information for the exemption. I also reached out to other towns in other counties, Catskill ect. I have made my decision whether they are eligible and will be reaching out to the Elks Lodge this week. I told Nick that if my decision to apply the exemption was incorrect, I will remove the exemption by March 1,2017. This is the deadline for all exemption renewals.


    Cheryl Kaszluga

  2. Mr Olivari -- and Gossips -- miss the real story here: how property tax exemptions in Hudson are handed out. It matters very little (to me) whether the Hudson Elks are among only a handful of Elks in the State to receive an exemption than what other organizations in Hudson get such exemptions. It's in that list that we should look for "aberrations" and special favors. --pbm

    1. The City of Hudson tax roll is available for examination by anyone at the office of Real Property Tax Services, next door to the County Clerk's Office on Warren Street.

    2. Dear White, of course the tax roll is available. But is it "viewable"? The point of a newspaper story is to make available what is not easily available. Will you do that for us?

    3. The tax roll is online (though the link on the City of Hudson website is messed up).

      In Hudson, there are 3 properties owned by social organizations. The American Legion and VFW have an exemption based on being a Veteran's Organization.

      There are 4 other properties with the same exemption as the BPOE, with the FASNY Nursing Home by far the largest.

      The Galvan Initiative Foundation has an exemption on 40 S 3rd Street.

      In total, there are 243 properties with some sort of exemption. They vaguely sound legit - but you could probably get more information about the statutory provisions behind them from the Tax Service.

      Personally, I would not trust print media to do my research.

  3. If applied as the statute directs, the property tax exemption does not hinge on what "the community wants to do". The property, in addition to being owned by a not-for-profit, must be used for a purpose which qualifies as charitable. This is why, in communities which appropriately apply the statutory criteria, fraternal organizations and membership lodges do not qualify for a property tax exemption.

  4. Mr. Meyer,

    I'm very sorry you feel that way. As an assessor, I take my job very seriously. If you would like me to answer any questions regarding the exemptions,my door is always open.

    Thank you,

    Cheryl Kaszluga

  5. The property, in addition to being owned by a not-for-profit, must be used for a purpose which qualifies as charitable...

    And in the same city fishermen are not allowed to maintain unfettered access to shore, without regard to cost.

  6. Dear Cheryl, I'm not sure what you think I feel, but it is certainly no ill-will toward you or your job. I was only pointing out that "the story" here is not about Hudson Elks being different than other Elks (why should I care about that?), which is what the Register Star emphasized, but about how communities hand out exemptions, which the story did not address. My criticism was of the reporting, not how you do your job. Having had lots of experience with property assessment system over the last 30 years, including seeing it up-close-and-personal as a member of the school board, I can assure you that Hudson's property assessment problems have a long history. And the Register Star would do us a big favor by pursuing that story -- explore the list of exemptions, including PILOTS, show us who's on it and why -- instead of picking on an organization that does a lot of good for our community. Thanks, pbm