Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ear to the Ground

People often wonder how many of the properties owned by the Galvan Foundation are exempt from property taxes. The tentative tax rolls for 2018 show that, aside from all the properties owned by Galvan Asset Management and Hudson Homesteads, acquired when Galvan took over Housing Resources of Columbia County, the only wholly exempt properties owned by Galvan (Galvan Civic or Galvan Initiatives Foundation) are the armory, 11 Warren Street (the former COARC building where Warren Academy is now located), and 40 South Third (the Salvation Army building). Recently, Gossips heard that Galvan was trying to take more properties off the tax rolls, so, since the people in city government who could confirm or deny this were going to be at the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) meeting this afternoon, Gossips went to the meeting to ask these questions: Was it true that Galvan was seeking tax exemptions for five properties? Had the exemptions been granted? Which properties were they?

City assessor Justin Maxwell answered my questions. He told me it was not five but six properties, and, on the advice of corporation counsel Andy Howard, the exemptions would be granted. Maxwell could not tell me which properties they were, because he hadn't committed them to memory, but I called him after the meeting, when he was back in his office, and he provided the addresses.

201-203 Warren Street

This puzzles me because 201-203 Warren Street is one of the buildings that Galvan Asset Management acquired when it took over Housing Resources. The building was already wholly exempt from property taxes.

67-71 North Fifth Street

202-204 Warren Street

364-366 Warren Street

325 and 327 State Street
These two buildings were also acquired by Galvan Asset Management when it took over Housing Resources and are already wholly exempt from property taxes.

When I asked about the justification for removing the buildings from the tax rolls, Maxwell explained that the Galvan Foundation was a registered not-for-profit, and providing affordable housing is part of its stated mission. So long as the apartments in the buildings are rented at below market rates, the buildings fulfill the mission of the foundation and qualify to be wholly tax exempt. He also pointed out that when the buildings stood empty, they were on the tax rolls, but when they are rehabbed and rented out at below market rates, they would be wholly tax exempt. It would appear that Galvan's vast collection of real estate could eventually all be off the tax rolls, with only a few exceptions, leaving the burden of providing the tax revenue needed to run the City to the rest of us. 

I also asked Maxwell how buildings could be wholly tax exempt when they had commercial space that was rented to for-profit enterprises. Princeton Architectural Press occupies the entire first floor of 202-204 Warren Street, Little Apple is on the ground floor of 364 Warren Street, and Hudson Home occupies all of 366 Warren Street. He seemed unaware of this situation and promised to check into it.

Update--Wednesday, June 13, 4:30 p.m.  I just received word from Justin Maxwell, the city assessor, that the properties in question have, at this point, not been removed from the tax rolls. The requests for them to become wholly exempt from property taxes are currently being evaluated by the BAR (Board of Assessment Review), which is made up of three members: Rachel Kappel, Philip Osattin, and Phil Forman. Presumably in a few weeks, when the final assessment rolls are released, we will know if the properties have become wholly exempt or not.    


  1. Please note that Linda Mussman is also a "not for profit" -- Galvan isnt the only only one.

    perhaps we can rename Hudson Galvania ??

    1. Please note there are numerous not for profits in Hudson. If you want to start naming them, name them all.

    2. The relevant question here, Pewtetra, is not how many non-profits there are, but how many own property under the non-profit banner. I'll bet the number dwindles significantly when you add that little twist to the question.

  2. Just amazing. Before our very eyes!

  3. People, wake up. Do something.

    Stop promoting yourselves and your “progressive” ideals. Stop ignoring the elephant in the room. Teeth gnashing at Le Gamin, Swoon and Spotty Dog ain’t gonna cut it.

    Call this person and his organization out for what they are— a malevolent, selfish, thieving hydra hellbent on destroying our little city.

    Not a good actor, not a good neighbor, not a good citizen.

    Hands in the pockets of the powers that be.

    Empty buildings. Kept off the market from potential market-based renters, and people who could buy such buildings, fix them up and actually give a damn.

    Just go on hiding in your faux-columned mansion, with your military-tyke Mercedes SUVs and your Marie-Antoinette Bentleys parked in your forbidding gated driveway. And your Roman Emperor bust on your front “veranda” is such an elegant touch...NOT.

  4. Again Scalera is involved. Need anyone say more.

    1. Richard Scalera submitted this response to Oldtymehudson:

      Wrong yet again! Please educate yourself as to how a property legally becomes exempt from property taxes and start pointing your finger elsewhere. Admire your obsession though!

  5. Am I wrong? Hudson is the county seat. There are many county agencies located here that are exempt from paying property taxes.

  6. This raises many follow-up questions:

    • Who determines what is a market rate for housing?

    • How is this determined, since leases are largely a private matter, and leases vary widely (e.g. some include utilities, some don’t; some have laundry in the building, some don’t; some are in excellent condition, some aren’t);

    • How often is this level determined?

    • How does the City verify which properties are being rented at (said) below market rates?

    • Do they take security deposits, advances, or other fees charged to tenants into account?

    • Will it review these properties every year to ensure that rents have not changed?

    • Is any level of rent below “market” deemed to make the property tax-exempt? That is, if you lease a property for $1 below market, is that adequate to qualify for 100% tax exemption?

    • Should not the exemption be in some way proportionate to amount of the below-market reduction?

    • What is the legal basis for treating rental properties this way?

    • What kind of fees are the

    One gets the unfortunate sense is that City Hall may be making this up as it goes along, and caving into the large nonprofit’s demands. I stand prepared to be proven wrong...