MOUNT TREMPTER, N.Y. >> The Shandaken Town Board hired a Poughkeepsie law firm to defend the town against a property tax assessment challenge filed in state Supreme Court, Ulster County, by the owners Emerson Resort & Spa complex.
The board voted Monday evening to hire the firm Van De Water and Van De Water to defend the town against Kaatskill Development Holdings LLC and Fort Shandaken Associates.
The town assessor in May valued the property at $2,744,000; the property owners are seeking a reduction to $1,428,000.
Town Supervisor Rob Stanley said the property has not been taxed like other properties in town, but has instead been operating under a tax abatement agreement known as a payment in lieu of taxes.
READ: The complaint served by the owners of the Emerson Resort & Spa
According to information provided by the Office of the New York State Comptroller, plans for payments in lieu of taxes are designed to encourage economic development, granting partial exemptions from property taxes. To take advantage of the exemption offered, title to an economic development project (such as a building or business location) is often transferred from the private owner to an Industrial Development Agency for the duration of the project. In these cases, the exemption may be offset by payments in lieu of taxes made by the original private owner. At the end of the project, title reverts to the original owner, who then pays taxes in a normal manner on the property.
Stanley said the time frame of the Emerson’s tax agreement is coming to an end, so the owners will soon be paying taxes for the full assessed value of the property, as do most property owners.
The supervisor noted that disagreements about property tax assessments are not uncommon.
“This is not unfamiliar territory for us,” he said. “We’ve faced these challenges before.”