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Albany property tax abatement mistake

September 20, 2017 11:36 PM

ALBANY - Trey Kingston became the interim city assessor in July.

"I did a lot of work with Keith McDonald who was the Assessor at that time," Kingston said.

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Since then he's been working to understand and fix a mistake made by his predecessor, Keith McDonald which allowed for 9 of 27 properties in Albany to receive an incorrect tax exemption, totaling nearly $90,000 in 2016.  

"What Section 5a in Real Property Tax Law specifies is that such exemption may only be granted upon application of the property owner," Kingston explained.

Hodgson Russ Attorneys identified 9 properties that were found to have no commercial activity. 

On the list, 83-87 Beaver Street, received cuts totaling a possible $15,000 a year since 2014. 

Last year, the LLC owning 27 Western Avenue was able to deduct $33,500 in tax abatement. 

Even though they're misappropriated cuts, Kingston says there is a silver lining for the city.

"You got to take into consideration that some of these buildings would still be dilapidated and vacant had it not been for this so while there would be potential the improper exemptions granted there is some also aspect of looking at it, that it did increase the overall tax base," Kingston said.

He adds some of the 9 property owners, including 27 Western and 419 Madison Avenue were able to provide correspondence with McDonald that indicated they qualified for the cuts.

13 other buildings identified in the report are commercial or mix use but they need to submit the 485-a application by May 1st, to receive the exemption.

"They wouldn't get their exemption on the 2017 school tax bill or the 2018 property bill, they could file it for next year."

It's possible the 9 properties could convert into commercial or mix-use to legally receive the exemption, but Kingston says its tough to know that for sure since there's no precedent set.

The Albany Board of Assessment Review will meet on Monday morning at 10 a.m. to decide how to move forward. 

Credits

Karen Tararache

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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