November 4, 2013

Tax break restored for Malone housing complex


---- — MALONE — Indian Trails will have tax-exempt status reinstated for the coming year, but Malone will continue its challenge to recoup lost revenue from the low-income housing project in the future.

Following an executive session during a special meeting last week, the Town Council agreed to settle the matter this year and allow the complex to continue its designation as tax exempt.

Malone Town Houses Inc., owners of the housing complex off Finney Boulevard, was supposed to have received a 10 percent exemption on real-estate taxes from the time it was built in 1974.

But it has not been assessed any taxes all these years because information was incorrectly posted on the town tax rolls.

When Assessor Amy Hewitt took over the job, she removed the company’s perceived 10 percent exemption on its January 2013 tax bill because Indian Trails had been refinanced, and thus its contract terms were invalidated, she said. 

The company’s attorneys challenged her decision.

The research into past records uncovered the long-time taxing error, and the matter was to go to County Court for a hearing last month.

Instead, the parties involved agreed to work out a settlement to suspend the challenge for this year, but the town plans to fight on in 2014.

Indian Trails “will retain tax-exempt status for this year,” said Town Attorney Lillian Anderson-Duffy, “and the rest will be subject to full investigation.”

The 2013 exemption will stand, and if the issue is not resolved before January 2014, when a new tax bill for Indian Trails is generated, the tax-exempt status will continue into 2014 until a resolution is reached.

Town Council members thanked Hewitt and Anderson-Duffy for their work on the issue.

“Hopefully, we can recoup some of the money we should be getting — the town, the village and the school,” said Town Council member Mary Scharf.

Email Denise A.